Introduction

 

Fife Path 089 2015-05-16.jpgThe Path

The path surface varies - sometimes tarmac or paved, sometimes rough paths through grass, sometimes over beaches or occasional scrambles along rocks. I wore walking boots but generally any decent trainers or shoes would be fine, and for some sections along beaches bare feet would be okay! I like my food and always carried sandwiches and snacks, plus some water, but for many sections you could rely on shops and cafes. Crail to St. Andrews has some isolated sections which need more planning. In that stretch, there are few opportunities for any refreshments and the going is quite rough in places.

The path is well signposted with the logo on the right.

Maps

I used The Fife Coastal Path footprint map, the official map, (it cost £6.95 in 2016), and it is is well worth the money. It breaks the route down into 8 panels, and has distances from Kincardine along the way. It warns of tricky sections, and has some general information about the route. When I bought it in 2015 it came in plastic wallet (and possibly still comes like that, I just haven't bothered to check) which means it can be folded to show the current part of the path and then put in the wallet for protection. The map is on waterproof paper, but I don't like to put that to the test and prefer to keep it in the wallet to prevent rips and tears.

Phone Apps

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In addition to the paper map, I relied a lot on my phone. I use the Viewranger app, for which I have bought the full UK Ordnance Survey maps (1:50000 series). In addition to these maps, I downloaded the GPX routes from Walk Highlands web site. Having the route on my phone meant that I could always check I was still on the right track if I thought I might have missed a sign. I would not recommend relying on maps a phone for serious hillwalking, but when following the coast there is limited opportunity for getting really lost. As long as the sea is on your right (or left if walking in the path in the opposite direction) you can't go far wrong, and the next village will only be a few miles away at most.

 

There are a few places where the route has changed (for instance the area between Rosyth and North Queensferry has changed because of major alterations to the road layout to accommodate the new Queensferry Crossing bridge) so having a map of the area helps for navigation not covered by the coastal path map.

Guides

I used two guides.

Firstly, I bought the Kindle version (2012 by Fife Coast and Countryside Trust) of The Fife Coastal Path - The Official Guide, which is written by different rangers for each section of the walk. It gives wildlife notes, history, places to eat or to stay, and is worth reading before you go. It was published in 2012 and covers the whole route.

Secondly, I bought Along the Fife Coastal Path by Hamish Brown (second edition, 2009, Mercat Press).  This covers the route from North Queensferry to Newport; the path did not originally cover the whole coast and this book was written before the path was extended. It gives some interesting detail of the history of the places along the way.

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