The sun was out today, so we went along to the East Neuk, that incredibly well-kept Fife secret. For those not in the know, let me induct you into the Illuminati: Fife, a region known for its mining communities (now ex-mining communities) and St Andrews, home of golf, has on its south-eastern coast a string of fishing villages that are, well, just endlessly photogenic!
Best known of these villages is Anstruther. I was saying today, not for the first time, that quite a few places in Fife should take a leaf out of Anstruther’s book: whatever it’s done over the last few years, it’s done right. Despite the decline of the fishing industry, it’s thriving, and growing, partly at least because of the decision to invest in harbour pontoons which now attract pleasure boats as well as fishermen. Its fish and chip shop is rightly renowned, although you can also get other eating options.
St Monans has a great plant nursery we also visited today; Pittenweem is equally picturesque down at the harbour; but in terms of scenery, Crail (pictured here and at the top of the page) is probably my favourite.
The gable ends of the houses, by the way, are described as ‘crow stepped,’ and I remember at primary school being told it was because the traders with the so-called ‘Low Countries,’ (modern day Holland and Belgium) in centuries past liked the architecture there so much they replicated it when they got home. The truth is slightly more complex: the area was deliberately settled with Flemish traders, who then brought their architecture with them.
…and that’s it, really. A hidden string of pearls, just a few miles from home. And the real kicker is, the micro climate there means that it’s drier than the rest of the county, so even if it’s raining at home, along the coast there’s a decent chance of sun!
Nothing to see down here. Nothing as good as the East Neuk, anyway