Rabbie’s fabulous cafe in Edinburgh’s West End was quiet when I arrived in time for my tour, meaning I had time to pick up a much-needed coffee before being whisked away with the other tour members to meet our guide for the day – the proud Fifer, Ally.
We were soon zipping off to begin our adventure, and from this point on Ally proceeded to produce a never-ending stream of facts, dates, folk tales and pieces of local gossip to entertain and – in the style of Stephen Fry’s ‘QI’ – cause declarations of “oh that’s quite interesting!”.
First stop was the quaint town of South Queensferry to see the awe-inspiring sight of the Forth Bridge – a Victorian engineering marvel which sits alongside the 1960’s Forth Road Bridge, and a new road bridge which is under construction. Breathtaking!
We travelled over the bridge into the Kingdom of Fife. What an entrance! A drive along the pretty coast took us to Fife’s answer to The Hamptons – the beautiful village of Elie.
This is where Lord Macduff fled across the sea from Macbeth in 1054. The legend tells of Macduff’s escape being aided by local fishermen, an act which led to the village being promoted to royal burgh status after Macbeth’s downfall. History is everywhere you look in this part of Scotland.
We continued through the tiny fishing villages of The East Neuk (from the Scots word meaning nook or corner). I decided against an early lunch at the award-winning Anstruther Fish Bar and instead opted for a stroll around the picturesque harbour.
Crail was next on the list – another beautiful fishing village which is the most photographed and painted harbour in Fife. The East Neuk had rich trading links with the Low Counties and ships would return with red clay pantiles – making some of the villages look rather more Dutch than Scottish!
Upon reaching St Andrews I followed my nose all the way to the Tailend Fish & Chip Shop for deliciously fresh fish and chips, before heading off to explore the fascinating town. You could easily spend days in St Andrews exploring the rich history, the magnificent university buildings, the iconic golf courses, and the beautiful sandy beaches.
From St Andrews, we made our way to the village of Falkland at the foot of the Lomond Hills. Falkland was an important filming location in the Outlander TV series (doubling as 1940’s Inverness) and boasts a stunning Royal Palace with beautiful grounds – the childhood home of Mary Queen of Scots.
A brilliant day was now drawing towards an end as we headed back to Edinburgh to a soundtrack of Scottish bands.
The Kingdom of Fife is a fabulous place to visit, and a passionate and knowledgeable guide like Ally really brought the area to life!