Thursday, March 31, 2016

Holiday In Fife: Day 4 and 5: Pillars of Hercules, Cupar and the East Neuk

Brock's walk on Tuesday 22 March, was around the forest trail next to The Pillars of Hercules Organic Farm Shop and Restaurant. Then we had a tasty lunch: Rob ate the 'crepe of the day' with brie and apple - it happened to be gluten free. I had GF chilli, which came with tortillas, salad and little pots of cheese and yoghurt. Rob had a slice of coffee cake, and I had lemon and poppy seed polenta cake. With two Americanos, the bill came to around £25.

We bought some vegetables, and vegetable seeds from the shop, the latter for sowing in our own garden, after the holiday.

Cupar was our next stop: a nice, small town with lots of independent shops and historically interesting buildings. The Scottish Deer Centre is nearby (with many types of deer, wolves, lynx, wild cats, birds of prey to see).

On Wednesday 23 March, we did a driving tour of the East Neuk villages, starting at Largo, then Elie, St Monans, Pittenweem, Anstruther, Cellardyke and so back to Crail. All have their own points of interest and we have holidayed in three of them now. I think Pittenweem, Anstruther and Crail are my favourites - all picturesque, with nice shops and cafes to visit. Here are some of our photos from previous visits to the area.

 Windmill, St Monans

 I love this blue-shuttered house in Crail - imagine living there! It looks straight out over the sea.

Pittenweem Harbour

Church at St Monans

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Holiday in Fife: Day 3: St Andrews

Today we walked along the beach at St Andrews - acres of yellow sand bounded by the sea on one side and golf courses on the other.

We always enjoy visiting this town. It has beautiful old buildings, lovely shops and restaurants and you can walk around it easily. There are lots of other things to do, such as visits to the:- botanical garden, castle, cathedral ruins, golf museum and university museum.

Lunch was at the dog-friendly Byre Theatre Cafe, where we had a very tasty lunch (GF mushroom salad for me and vegetarian platter with cheese, olives, bread, hummus, roasted tomatoes and peppers, etc, for Rob).

We spotted the poster above in the Theatre Cafe and it reminded us of a certain little dog of our acquaintance. He is due for a fur cut in a few weeks time so he won't be quite so 'Hairy Maclary' any more!

We bought some delicious blue cheese, and bread from IJ Mellis and gorgeous (but outrageously expensive - £1.40 each!) chocolates from Iain Burnett Highland Chocolatier. Cakes from Fisher and Donaldson - a GF meringue for me and a coffee tower for Rob. All the food groups covered!

Then it was back to the Crail Posthouse for a relaxing read by the fire!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Holiday in Fife: Day 2: Fife Coastal Path From Crail to Fife Ness

We decided to take it (fairly) easy today with a walk along the Fife Coastal Path between Crail and Fife Ness. It was quite hot and sunny. Very unexpected in March.

This pathway is about 5 minutes walk from the Crail Posthouse, so it was easy for us to go North or South from here.

You pass through a caravan park on the outskirts of Crail, then the path hugs the shore for the next few miles.

Looking back towards Crail
There is a wildlife reserve at one point - Kilminning. We certainly saw lots of sea birds and some early queen bees feeding on the gorse blossoms.

Approaching Fife Ness Coastguard Station (which I believe is no longer in use).

We had heard lots of screeching tyres and revving engines as we walked along, and all was explained as we turned inland at Craighead, passing the golf course, and coming to the Crail Raceway. The racetrack is based on an old airfield and is fortnightly filled with amateurs coming to drag race or track race. Fun for those taking part, not so much for those looking for peace and quiet!

We were going to have dinner in the Golf Hotel, which allows dogs in the bar area, but it was packed with people, and the three or four small tables were all taken, so we bought some food in the local Co-op and Smoke Fired Whole Foods shop for dinner. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Holiday in Fife: Day One: Dunfermline and Crail

Rob, Brock and I are just back from a week's holiday in Fife, staying at The Posthouse in Crail. We had a great time and enjoyed lots of walks, shopping, relaxing in cafes and at the lovely accommodation.

We started out with a stop-off in Dunfermline at the Pittencrieff Park. There are acres of grass and trees, flower borders and a cafe with an outside deck for having a coffee in the sunshine. Brock had a fine time meeting and greeting the other dogs.

Pittencrieff House Museum

The Peacock Room Cafe

There are lots of beautiful old buildings in the town, and I was surprised to learn that it was originally Scotland's capital.

We arrived at the Crail Posthouse at about 3 pm. It is beautifully furnished and decorated with many artworks including photographs of wildlife, large posters for the Canadian railway, oil paintings and more. There was a welcome pack including champagne, a bar of chocolate, milk, crisps, shortbread, ground coffee etc The two shower/bath rooms were well stocked with toiletries and, most importantly, loo rolls! On the ground floor is an entrance hall with bookcase and coat pegs and a staircase leading up to the first floor where the kitchen/diner and sitting room are found. There is also a shower room/toilet, a utility room, and a double bedroom. On the second floor is a small study/library with comfortable chairs and lovely views to the sea, also a gorgeous bathroom (I adopted this one!) with a free-standing roll top bath, stained glass window, power shower, and loo. There are also two more bedrooms, although we didn't use them.

Brock making himself at home. He should actually be on the comfortable bean bag provided for dogs, but has sneaked onto the sofa albeit on a 'throw' we brought with us.

There is no garden with the property as it is a 'town house' on the main street, however, there is a very short walk (five minutes or less) to the nearest grassy area, which leads down on to the coastal path. We very quickly found a nice circular walk for mornings and evenings, which was extremely beautiful by moonlight.

Monday, March 14, 2016

A Walk By Kielder Water, and A Sunset

We made the most of the fabulous weather today, with a walk at Kielder Water, starting from the Hawkhope car park, along the East shore of lake, by the dam. A Kielder trail guide is available here.

We had lunch at The Old School Tearoom at nearby Falstone. Rob had the all day vegetarian breakfast, while I ate a jacket potato with cheese and salad. We both had a cake and drink and the bill came to under £16. Very reasonable. The food was good and freshly made. Highly recommended.

I was just shutting the chickens in when I spotted this beautiful sunset and rushed out with my camera to get a few pictures, only to find our new neighbours doing the same thing. It really was quite dramatic, but hard to capture in a small image.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Spring Plum Blossom and a Frog

The wild plum trees in our garden are just coming into blossom - a welcome sign of Spring.

Our morning walk was at Bessie's Hill Fort in Eskdalemuir. We found a puddle with three lots of frogspawn in it and later in the walk came across this little fellow.

Afterwards, we had coffee at Samye Ling and the two ponds there had dozens of froggy heads peeping out of the water, croaking at each other. Our own little pond has not got any spawn yet, but fingers crossed!


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