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Explore castles, coast, heritage, and nature — Fife Coastal Path

DavidRBadger (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Explore castles, coast, heritage, and nature — Fife Coastal Path

Hiking Collection by Kit P

8

Tours

49:15 h

117 mi

4,250 ft

The Fife Coastal Path explores a landscape of dramatic cliffs, hidden bays, wildlife-rich grasslands and forests, golden beaches, picturesque harbours, ancient caves, and countless castle ruins.

As the trail winds its way for 116 miles (187 km) between the Forth and Tay estuaries, you experience an ever-changing landscape; with modern and historic industry contrasting wonderfully with the classic coast and countryside you would expect.

History is everywhere along this trail, with each period leaving relics for you to discover. Whether it's the Wemyss Caves and their prehistoric wall carvings, the abundant 15th-century castles, 18th-century coal yards and salt mills, and much more besides, there's always something to take you back in time.

For the most part, the walking is flat along the trail and the paths are well-maintained and clearly waymarked. There are a few challenging sections and some parts that can only be completed at low tide. At these points, check tide times before you set out; there are alternative trails should you be planning to walk near high tide.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing things about this trail is the exhilarating Elie Chainwalk. On this epic challenge, you scramble along cliff sides; clinging onto chains attached to the cliffs. If this isn't your thing though, don’t worry—it's optional.

In this Collection, I've split the Fife Coastal Path into eight stages. Of course, you can split up each stage into as many days as you're comfortable with. You can also walk any single stage, or a couple of stages, in isolation.

Every stage finishes close to accommodation, even if there are only a few options nearby. However, places to stay are not always abundant so it is worth planning in advance and scheduling any rest days accordingly.

If you're planning to arrive by public transport, you can catch a train to Larbert railway station, which is served by direct trains from Glasgow and Edinburgh and has connecting services around the UK. You would then need to catch X27 bus service to Kincardine. To get home, catch either the 94 bus service to Ladybank railway station (choose this for Edinburgh connections), or the 36 bus service to Perth railway station (better for Glasgow), depending on where your ultimate destination is. Both have good links around the UK. If you arrive by car, your best bet is to negotiate with a hotel or B&B a rate to stay for a night either side of your hike in Kincardine.

To get back, catch the 36 bus from Newburgh to Glenrothes and then the X24 bus service back to Kincardine. Alternatively, you could find long-stay parking in Edinburgh and follow the public transport instructions above.

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Fife Coastal Path

116 mi

4,375 ft

4,250 ft

Last updated: November 19, 2021

Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 8: Newport on Tay to Newburgh — Fife Coastal Path

    Difficult
    08:03
    18.2 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,650 ft
    1,575 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Contrasting scenery, atmospheric castle ruins, and a tough terrain make for a challenging yet rewarding final stage.

    

    With more ascent and descent than previous stages, as well as a hefty distance to contend with, this last stage will be a real test of your fitness and endurance.

    

    From Newport on Tay, you

    by Kit P

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  • Intermediate
    04:54
    11.8 mi
    2.4 mph
    350 ft
    350 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This first stage of the Fife Coastal Path affords an unusual mix of industry, heritage and wildlife-rich countryside.

    

    From Kincardine, you head inland through farmland and see Longannet Power Station, the last coal-fired power station in Scotland, on your right.

    

    The trail rejoins the waterside and brings

    by Kit P

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  • Difficult
    07:10
    17.0 mi
    2.4 mph
    675 ft
    625 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    With crumbling castles, iconic symbols of Scottish engineering, picturesque beaches and nature reserves, the variety is abundant on this stage.

    

    From Limekilns, you hike into farmland and see the enormous HM Naval Base on your right. On the outskirts of the base are the ruins of Rosyth Castle which was

    by Kit P

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  • Difficult
    06:43
    16.1 mi
    2.4 mph
    525 ft
    550 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Haunted ruins, ancient caves, pretty harbours and plenty of heritage make this an interesting stage.

    

    From Burntisland, the trail follows the shoreline to Kinghorn, and onto Linktown and Kirkcaldy. If you're attempting this section at high tide, you'll have to follow the inland trail.

    

    You soon pass the

    by Kit P

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  • Difficult
    04:29
    10.8 mi
    2.4 mph
    125 ft
    125 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    This stage passes a picturesque beach, explores a rare grassland nature reserve, and has an exhilarating chain walk along cliffs.

    

    As you leave the industrial and urban areas of Methil and Leven behind, you step onto the vast expanse of Leven Beach, with its golden sands and crystal-clear waters.

    

    There

    by Kit P

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  • Difficult
    06:45
    16.5 mi
    2.4 mph
    250 ft
    250 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Coastal views, historic ruins, and a rough terrain dominate this stunning stage.

    

    From Elie, you walk around Sauchar Point, passing Elie Ness Lighthouse and the ruins of Lady’s Tower, a viewpoint built in 1770 for Lady Janet Anstruther.

    

    A little further along the coast, you reach Newark Castle, an atmospheric

    by Kit P

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  • Difficult
    05:53
    14.1 mi
    2.4 mph
    450 ft
    425 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This stage explores a breathtakingly-beautiful stretch of the Fife Coastal Path.

    

    The terrain along this stage can be challenging in places and includes some tidal sections; be sure to check the tide times before you start.

    

    From Kingsbarns, you return to the coastline and hike north. At the Kenly Water

    by Kit P

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  • Difficult
    05:18
    12.9 mi
    2.4 mph
    250 ft
    250 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This stage explores the vast and glorious expanse of Tentsmuir; a pine forest, golden beach, and a wildlife-rich nature reserve.

    

    From Leuchars, you're soon into Tentsmuir Forest, which covers 50 square miles (130 sq km) and mainly comprises Scots pine and Corsican pine.

    

    You emerge from the forest onto

    by Kit P

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    8
  • Distance
    117 mi
  • Duration
    49:15 h
  • Elevation
    4,250 ft

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