It was still beautiful when we stopped at Elie (EEly) in the East Neuk for morning coffee. We sat outside with our cups of tea or coffee and admired the views of the harbour, the small town, the beach – incidentally the beach where my parents met many years (70+) ago!
It was still beautiful and getting hotter when we arrived at Pittenweem where a number of us left the bus to take the coastal path to Anstruther, or Ainster to the locals. The rest of the group stayed put, to continue on the coach to Anstruther , where it was arranged that we would all meet up at the fish’n’chip shop near the harbour. So, the walking group set off to find the start of the coastal path, and as we walked down one old street I found the actual former fisherman’s house that I have a drawing of, and wanted to make into a dollshouse! I tried to take a picture of it but the iPad locked itself and I couldn’t take the picture, nor could I let the group get out of my sight, so I pressed on. Next time! It was a typical two storey house with storage below and living space above reached by an outside stair. Now I think the storage downstairs has been made into another flat/apartment. Wish I could find the drawing now. It wasn’t one I did, as you can tell.
It was so nice just wandering along the path, exchanging hellos with people and their dogs going the opposite way. The sound, the smell and sight of the sea was almost intoxicating. It was gentle that day, but I wouldn’t care to be walking that way on a stormy winter day. It wouldn’t be safe, for one thing!
And suddenly Anstruther was ahead in the distance .
By this time the group had got further ahead of me – as I was always stopping to take photos – so I had to find my way to the harbour and the fish’n’chip shop to meet everyone. I took one or two wrong turnings, and found that a river crossing had to be made first! Still the wrong turnings were interesting. e.g. I came across this little boathouse and “noost” (a place where a boat can be pulled ashore and moored for shelter from the sea).
In front of me was where I wanted to be, and behind me the attractive little church and burial ground. I had to retrace my steps a second time and cross the river by the bridge that carries the main road.
The gable end of the house on the left had some designs made of seashells, and the window was bordered by more. On the corner opposite was another house, with more shell decoration. I remember it from previous visits to this corner of Fife, but thought it was looking slightly the worse for wear, with missing shells here and there. Still pretty impressive though!
Walking towards the town centre I spied a wrought iron gate with the words CHALMERS BIRTHPLACE written into the design, and with a pretty cottage at the end of the close or pathway between two buildings. The only famous Chalmers I knew of was the Reverend Thomas Chalmers, who became the first leader/Moderator of the Free church of Scotland in 1843. He and other ministers and members of their congregations left the established church in protest against landowners choosing who to was to preach in their churches. The Disruption, as it became known, meant that a congregation could now choose the man they wanted as minister. I had to look up Thomas’s birth on the internet, and found this was indeed the Chalmers I thought it was. Strangely enough he also has a tenuous connection to my family, in that one of my 18th century ancestors married into the Pratt family, and a daughter of that marriage married Thomas!
This photo is looking back to the old church and houses I had seen across the river, while the last one is the little harbour again, from across the sand – and it was here where the battery on my iPad gave up the ghost! I had forgotten to charge it up overnight!
So eventually I found my way to the shore where the rest of the group were already eating or were queuing up for fish suppers – that’s what we call our fish’n’chips here, no matter what the time of day. I and some of the others had brought our own lunches, but I treated myself to an ice cream cone before we all climbed back on the coach for the second part of our outing, a visit to Kellie Castle before our journey back to Peebles. Not having any more photos, I can only refer you to this website and to my blogpost of 1 August 2011 from the last time I visited. I’ve tried to do a link to the post but it’s not happening, I’m afraid…… Well, it actually might work now, now that I’ve fiddled some more.
Anyway, what a day! The weather couldn’t have been better, and the scenery was magnificent. I think we all had a great day!
Talk again soon.