Fringed with Gold – The Fife Coast

Anstruther harbour

At last we’re nearing the front of a long, shuffling queue teased by the scent of frying fish and the waft of vinegar.

Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have dined here. They’re pulling in coaches from Newcastle, York and Glasgow but there’s no evidence of Hollywood today.

We take our haddock and chips, avoiding the jealous glances of hungry day-trippers, and wriggle to get comfortable on the sea wall.

Seagulls patrol the cobbles, gimlet eyes fixed on spilled chips and toddlers’ dripping cornets.

A terrier chases a tennis ball down to the beach. We kick off our shoes, running our toes through the soft golden sand.

Back in the 16th century King James VI described Fife as ‘a beggar’s mantle fringed with gold.’ He clearly loved a bucket and spade holiday.

The Lothian coast and Bass Rock are a faint haze on the horizon. The sun warms our backs and we roll up our trousers to paddle, gasping as our toes are tickled by the cold, fizzing shoreline.

Of course, it wasn’t always like this. Just along the seafront is the Scottish Fisheries Museum. The folklore and tradition of fishing and maritime is captured in a collection of photographs, engravings, maps and curios.

Early photos show the East Neuk harbours packed with the herring fleet. The masts of the vessels are so many they could be matchsticks or toothpicks.

The men could be away for days or weeks in bitterly cold and mountainous seas, so the fishwives would carry them piggyback to their boats to keep their boots and leggings dry.

We fetch ice-cream and set to building sandcastles. We gouge a deep moat in the golden sand, but on this beautiful, glorious day it seems even the tide is too lazy to fill it.

Advertisements

About richlakin

I'm married with two young boys and living in Staffordshire. If I'm not working you can find me day dreaming or holding high-brow literature in front of my face. Or eating Arctic Roll.
This entry was posted in Travel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s