Riding the Fife Coast Path
It's the season for holiday planning, so what better time to share some of the photos from our holiday last year. We rode the Fife Coast Path. For those of you who don't know where that is, it's the bit that bulges out just north of Edinburgh, between the River Forth and River Tay.
The Fife Coast Path is a way-marked walking route, but as Scotland has different access laws to England and Wales it's ok to cycle it - although it's probably best to avoid busy weekends in summer. We first read about it in MBR magazine. We went in September - and had it much to ourselves, except on the stretch into St Andrews which was on a Saturday.
So what made its special? For me it was the huge empty beaches, the big views, interesting singletrack through the dunes, tricky, sharp ups and downs - some of the steps cut into the hill were rideable - others not so much. There are lovely small towns along the way with delicious food and nice B&Bs. Some parts of the path are on the beach, and you need to plan ahead so you don't get cut off by the tide. It's also a mecca for golfers, so you need to look out for stray golf balls!
The MBR team rode the Fife Coast Path in two days from Kinghorn to St Andrews. If you've not got much time this is definitely the best riding and the best views. We have a friend in South Queensferry, so we started there, crossing the old Forth Bridge and getting fabulous views of the new one which had just opened and the old railway bridge. We finished crossing another massive bridge to Dundee, and caught the train back to the start. We split the 80 miles of riding into two full days with half days to start and end. The MBR option is 48 miles
You could do it bike packing and camping along the route. We chose the credit card and B&B option and packed very light. Ones set of clothes for the evening, a change of shorts and, of course, this being Scotland, our waterproofs. But we were lucky enough not to need them.
The Fife Coast Path isn't a classic Scottish off-road adventure. It's a bit of a mish mash of road, paths, beach, singletrack along the dunes and the kind of steps you find on all coastal paths. You're never very far from a small town and a cup of coffee. There's tons of history - coal mining, churches, castles and caves, plus lots of bird watching opportunities. There's also one challenging section. The 13 miles from Crail to St Andrews are the most remote and the most technical. Sand, rocky paths, and steep ups and downs, with some quite edgy sections mean that you really earn your lunch. We had ours at the cafe where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met when they were at university. It does fantastic smoothies and a very tasty lunch too.