Exploring Fife's East Neuk

East Neuk, UK

For as long as I can remember, my mum and I have been avid explorers and there’s nothing we enjoy more than a day trip and a good wander. Therefore, it’s very surprising that despite living in Fife for a substantial amount of time, neither of us had visited Fife’s picturesque East Neuk!

So, last year, before winter set, we hopped on the X60 bus from Kirkcaldy with the plan to explore St Monans and then catch the bus to explore Elie on the way home. However, a pleasant surprise was in store for us as before we knew it, the bus was drawing into Pittenweem – clearly, we’d been too preoccupied with the scenery to notice we’d passed St Monans. We arrived in Pittenweem just in time for lunch and were relieved to spot one café open (a few shops and cafes were closed, perhaps due to the time of year or the fact it was a Monday), The Cocoa Tree Shop. As we entered the chocolate shop in search of the café, a friendly face greeted us and showed us through to a cosy room filled with tables and chairs, a wood-burner, fairy lights, and various appetising aromas. We enjoyed a lovely light lunch and loved the small details like the piece of chocolate which accompanied hot drinks. After lunch, we set off with a bag of their chocolate nibs in hand, down a nearby path that led us past St Fillan's Cave and down to Pittenweem Harbour, which is still an active port.

Our wander along the harbour brought us past various colourfully painted houses which overlook the sea and a poignant statue dedicated to “the men and women who make their living from the sea and to those who have lost their lives in doing so.” and concluded at a wonderful viewpoint at the end of Pittenweem Harbour. Since it was a surprisingly sunny autumn day, we decided we might as well walk along the Fife Coastal Path to St Monans instead of waiting for the next bus.

Overall, it was a very easy-going path that boasted magnificent views out to sea and we soon found ourselves passing St. Monans Windmill. We briefly left behind the coastal views as the path weaved through a mixture of new build and traditional cottages until we emerged at St Monans Harbour. Although much smaller than Pittenweem harbour, St Monans is extremely charming with various features like their famous “Wellie Garden” which consists of a multitude of colourful wellies turned plant pots and the equally famous 'Zig Zag' pier which we only found by accident when we spotted someone clambering over one of the harbour walls.

By this point, we really fancied a hot drink and a slice of cake, thankfully we spotted a rather charming café com gift shop called the Driving Gannet and spent the next wee while browsing the shop and enjoying our refreshments. Surprise, surprise, for the second time that day we lost track of time and found ourselves rushing for the bus to Elie.

Thankfully, after our mad dash, we managed to get to Elie just in time for a short walk before the sun began to set. We were completely won over by our first visit to the East Neuk and looking forward to returning this summer to explore more of Elie and visit the various other quaint coastal villages.

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