Kirkcaldy doesn’t escape lightly, it has been noted, in Ian Rankin’s new book The Impossible Dead. The sea front is criticised by one of the Scottish crime-writer’s characters. He says it’s all facing the wrong way. I have to agree. Kirkcaldy has a fantastic view of the Forth. It’s a stunningly beautiful view of the Fife coast and across to Leith, Edinburgh and Arthur’s Seat and right along to the Bass Rock.
Some years back we used to go for coffee in a little cafe area in the top of Kirkcaldy’s Mercat shopping centre. You could sip milky coffee and stare at that view. I’d get off a train from King’s Cross. I’d spent weeks staring at dripping trees in an autumnal London square. And now I had this….
Until one day some genius allowed TK Maxx to move in, close the cafes and cover up the windows.
Gone in the time it took someone to slot some plasterboard in place.
Kirkcaldy is built on links land. Ravenscraig and Dysart have the protection of rocks, to the north, but Kirkcaldy relies on its sea defences, man-made and built using labour from the Great Depression. They’re grey and they’re coarse but they’re cracking. Work will be needed and soon. It’s a great walk from Kirkcaldy south to Kinghorn. There are sealions and a wonderful ancient watch tower. So Rankin’s character wasn’t being cruel, he was sharing wisdom. Kirkcaldy: use that wonderful view!