The Kingdom of Fife

It is back along the now familiar A96 to a grey Aberdeen, which our sat-nav insists on pronouncing Abradeen. There are glimpses of sun as we head south on the A90. At Dundee, we cross the Tay Bridge, which is celebrating its 50th birthday. Finally it is on to the A92 into Fife. Our sat-nav is especially designed for those with caravans and includes all our sites as points of interest, so we have put in our destination – Balbirnie Park in Markinch. Markinch is the home of the ancestors of my grandson but I have left the family history to his other grandma.

We begin to lose confidence in the sat-nav as we wind our way through the backstreets and end up down what appears to be a dead end. We are being directed to turn left in a few yard, the road appears to stop. I get out to investigate and discover that the ‘road’ is a metre wide earthen footpath. Chris does a several point turn with the van and I turn navigating using the postcode instead (there is no road as part of the site’s address). This sends us to a spot three miles away and still no site in sight (there’s a pun in there somewhere). Plan c is to put in ‘Markinch’ and use the written directions in the Caravan Club book. Success! This is a heavily wooded site, which looks pleasant but the trees make the van very dark. As someone who has only just acquired a car that can be opened remotely, I am excited by the barrier key, which allows me to zap the site barrier from a distance using a fob and watch the barrier rise. Ok, so I am easily amused.

373 Scottish Fisheries Museum 26 May 2016.JPGA nature reserve was on the itinerary for this afternoon but we are still in single digit temperatures, with biting winds and drizzle, so we think again. We decide to head for Anstruther to see where tomorrow’s boat trip starts. We drive along the Fife Coastal Tourist Route, through the East Neuk villages, past fields of potatoes and arrive at Anstruther. This areas was described as a fringe of gold by James II. ‘Neuk’ means corner and here we are on a small corner of the east coast. We spot some shell houses in Anstruther and then we find the harbour and enquire at the ferry office. Yesterday’s and today’s sailings have been cancelled due to bad weather, this does not bode well. It is definitely a day for an indoor activity so we look round the Scottish Fisheries Museum, which used to be home to some Braund family boats. We knew that these had moved to Eyemouth and we hope to see them in a few days’ time. The museum is very well done, part of it is housed in the former occasional lodgings of sixteenth century abbot of Balmerino. There is another strange toilet-related incident at the museum. These are very strange contraptions and I am initially at a loss as to how to effect a flush. There are tiny hand basins on top of the cisterns and turning on the tap also flushes the toilet.

On the way home, we drive back through Pittenweem, which is an historic fishing village that the guide book recommends. Maybe on a sunny day….. One of our party is hardy enough to wander round and inspect the fishing boats. Enough is enough and it is time to batten down the van’s hatches and thaw out yet again.


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