Onwards from our accommodation in Huntlywood and we passed through Lauder, which has a lovely bakery, from which comestibles were purchased. Too many unfortunately, as my jeans are getting very tight!
We crossed the Forth Bridge shortly afterwards and kicked ourselves as we didn’t get a good photograph of it. It’s rather wonderful, looking light and airy and somehow delicate.
We turned left over the bridge and drove to Culross, which is the fictional village of Cranesmuir in Outlander.
It is a pretty village with both whitewashed and ochre coloured houses in a maze of cobbled streets.
We saw some really whimsical little cottages winding round the alleys, which I think must be called “wynds”. Mark tricked me by asking me to pose in this alley, and I only noticed the name of it as I waited for him to take the photo. He’ll keep!
The Back Causeway leads to the Abbey, which is a ruin, but for once, admittance was free. According to the information board it was almost certainly built on the site of an important Pictish monastery where St Serf was supposedly buried. The Abbey had extensive estates and its Abbots were powerful men. The surviving buildings date back to the 1200s. Although the Abbey is a ruin, it’s a very pretty ruin and it’s possible to get an idea of the floor plan by walking around it.
This ladder leads to the lay brothers’ first-floor dining room. It’s pretty small and I’m not sure whether that ladder meets Health and Safety guidelines but we went up it anyway.
Have you ever heard of “sewing machine knees”? I googled it and nothing came up, but in my more adventurous days we would climb saplings to jump off the top and it was common to get this trembling in the legs which is known as “sewing machine knees”! Appropriate hey? I think it comes from the trembling you can get when using a treadle machine for a long period of time. Anyway, a longwinded explanation of what happens to me when I climb a ladder.
I got to the room and wandered about, admiring that beautiful vaulted ceiling and the lovely view from the room.
However, I suddenly felt a frisson of fear as I noticed that there was no other way out except back down that ladder! Mark had to talk me off the ledge as it were.
How lovely is this vaulted ceiling?
The streets are cobbled and cobbles are really hard to walk on, but you can see a pattern, which helps. There is a centre bit which is easier to walk on, and the cobbles on either side are huge. I could imagine the horse drawn cart with the horse walking down the centre and the cart wheels rumbling over those cobblestones. Without any sort of suspension and hard wooden wheels I can’t think that this was anything but an excruciating ride!
We drove on to Anstruther, which was once one of Scotland’s busiest fishing ports, but seems to have mostly pleasure boats now.
It’s another historic town with lots of people wandering around eating fish and chips. It has some gorgeous buildings. How lovely is this wall with the little turreted tower?
The beautiful fields running right down to the ocean with their drystone walls outlining their boundaries never failed to delight us. Not sure I fancied a swim though! This photo was taken on the way to Crail, which is another quaint little town with cottages with red tiled roofs and a pretty harbour.
We arrived in St Andrews shortly after leaving Crail. It’s an interesting town, being a religious centre and place of pilgrimage, and also being Scotland’s oldest university town. The original gift of land was made in 1419, so it’s pretty old.
Some of the buildings in town are rather gorgeous too. This bookshop was much enjoyed by us.
I have to thank all the people who explained about the blue clocks on churches in England, even my sister knew (gasp!), but what about the red clock face on this building (is it a church)? Let me guess – this is something to do with Mary, Queen of Scots?? Please let me know!
The largest and most important church in medieval Scotland is St Andrews Cathedral and this part of town has some rather splendid old buildings.
Next we passed over the Forth Bridge. This is a new bridge since the last time I was here, and it is rather splendid. It seems light and airy and I’m sure it’s a triumph of engineering.
We decided to quickly visit Dundee as I wanted to see the new V&A there. In my ignorance I hadn’t even realised it had been built until Judith and Robert mentioned it.
It is a pretty special building, with interesting architectural lines. I love the inverted V through which the other side of the Firth of Forth can be seen. We were lucky that it was a beautiful day and the view was really clear.
Inside was quite arresting. As I began walking up the stairs I found myself avoiding what I thought was ice cream spilled on the floor. Imagine my surprise when this turned out to be the pattern.
The interesting design continues through the building, with these shingles protruding from the walls at slight angles. I thought they might move, but trust me when I say they don’t, and don’t ask me how I know this!
This photograph of Mark shows the inside of the gallery and I have to say that this view is the most there is to see. Yes, the V&A is just about empty! Such a shame, but perhaps they are still getting organised. I have a feeling that they want to display local artists.
Right opposite the V&A is the ship Discovery. A beautiful sleek ship she is too, with an interesting history. She is deemed one of the most important ships in the UK, being part of the UK’s National Historic Fleet.
It was the first ship in the world to be specifically designed for scientific research and for the Antarctic region. She is the only example of a wooden three masted sailing ship to survive and was built in Dundee due to their expertise in building Scottish whaling ships. We’ve seen a bit about her in Tasmania, so it was to see the ship in real life.
The rest of Dundee was viewed at a very fast clip as parking was expensive (not as bad as Edinburgh though). This beautiful building was going to house a cat show, which seemed a bit remarkable – we have our cat shows in much more down market agricultural show style buildings.
Who doesn’t remember Desperate Dan from the Dandy comic? I was rather thrilled to find this statue in the street with Minnie the Minx giving him a hard time with her catapult!
We had to visit Perth, even if there isn’t a great deal there, although we both managed to buy a pair of shoes! It’s a nice town with a nice bakery (the benchmark by which we rate all towns) It has lovely terraces and stone houses. I don’t seem to have taken any photographs though.
We did a big loop through Pitlochrie, and photos were taken by the river, and outside the most amazing (and amazingly expensive) chocolate shop. I am featuring because Mark insists on taking a gazillion photos for Me Made May, an Instagram challenge I’m participating in.
Then on to Aberfeldy, which has a nice bakery (we are basically doing a bakery crawl right round the UK) and a lovely thrift shop in an old church which was packed with people. Nothing for me though.
We were rather taken with the colour of the granite here. The buildings have a strange green cast which contrasts so well with the red stone.
So that’s the Fife Coast covered. Next up is the Cairngorms!