The Kingdom of Fife

The council area Fife is located between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Tay on Scotland's east coast and has about 512 square miles.


A very relaxing visit to the Kingdom of Fife on Scotland's east coast in October.


View to Dundee over the Tay Bridge
View to Dundee over the Tay Bridge

Getting there

As usual, we took the ferry from Amsterdam-Ijmuiden to Newcastle-upon-Tyne and drove to Newport-on-Tay via the A1 and A92 in our own car. It was the first time we took the "Queensferry Crossing" - the new bridge spanning the Firth of Forth.

It was opened on 30 August 2017 and officially inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II at the beginning of September. 

It is located beside the old Forth Road Bridge (which will be used as a public transport corridor in the future) and the impressive Forth Bridge.


Unfortunately, I was not able to capture all three bridges in one photo...


The new Queensferry Crossing spanning the Firth of Forth
The new Queensferry Crossing spanning the Firth of Forth

Sandford Country Cottages

This time, we spent 8 days at "Baillie Scott Cottage".

It is part of Sandford House which was designed by the architect Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott and built for the Valentine family in 1902.


In 1910, large parts of the house - that was covered with reed - were destroyed by a devastating fire.

It was reconstructed using Rosemary tiles. Ownership and use of the house changed over the years.

In the 1960s, the building was used as a hotel. It had been neglected for over three years when Evelyn and Ralph bought it in 2007.


They tried to restore it as true to original as they could get, and set up several lovely guest quarters

(besides their own apartment and Evelyn's office). The BBC featured Sandford House in their show "Restoration Homes".

By chance, we came across this episode on German TV right before we went to spend our holiday there.


You can find the detailed history of Sandford House on the homepage.


Please click photos to enlarge.

A walk to


From our cottage, we took a walk to the village of Wormit and then on to Newport-on-Tay.

My partner (I mentioned his walking disability before) went there by car and waited for us.

Evelyn recommended a café called "Kitschnbake" where we indulged in some delicious cake and coffee afterwards.

I loved the look of the place with its retro-style wallpaper and the random mixture of vintage furniture.


Thanks for the recommendation, Evelyn! :-)


Retro-style café "Kitschnbake" in Newport-on-Tay
Retro-style café "Kitschnbake" in Newport-on-Tay
Berry cake sprinkled with oat flakes at café "Kitschnbake" in Wormit
Berry cake sprinkled with oat flakes at café "Kitschnbake" in Wormit


Dundee (Gaelic: Dùn Dèagh) is not actually a part of Fife, but as it was located only a little over 5 miles from our cottage, we used the opportunity to visit. Dundee has about 150.000 inhabitants and is undergoing a lot of change at the moment.


The first thing I noticed when we got into town via the bridge was the huge Dundee Waterfront construction site. The new waterfront will comprise of five different zones:

  1.  In Riverside you can find the airport and sports and recreation possibilities
  2. Seabraes will be residential and business quarter, e.g. for digital media
  3. In Central Waterfront, there will be the new V&A Museum (first design museum in Scotland), public parks, hotels and leisure outlets. It is also where the "RRS Discovery" is located
  4. City Quay is a residential and business area where you can also visit the frigate "Unicorn"
  5. The Port of Dundee is - surprise ;-) - the harbour area with matching logistics

RRS Discovery

We spent a part of our excursion to Dundee visiting the RRS Discovery, a wooden three-masted ship with a coal-fired auxiliary steam engine that was specifically constructed for scientific research in Antarctica. It was launched in 1901.

Its hull consisted of several different types and layers of wood to withstand the pressure of the Arctic pack ice, which proved successful during Robert Falcon Scott's very first expedition when the ship was locked in the ice for two years!


Its crew consisted of 37 men and 11 officers.


I was impressed by the extensive provision list that contained supplies for three years.

In New Zealand, the crew got a flock of sheep from the farmers.  They were slaughtered when the ship reached Antarctica.

The men also hunted penguins and seals.


 The galley was the warmest place on the ship, which is why the sick bay (a tiny room with two beds) was nearby.


Please click photos to enlarge.

Dundee city centre

Unfortunately, there are lots of vacant shops in Dundee.

It seems to be a little bit better in the shopping malls - however, you can find exactly the same stores in almost every German shopping centre...


Statue of "Desperate Dan" - a popular British comic magazine character - in Dundee
Statue of "Desperate Dan" - a popular British comic magazine character - in Dundee

Dundee Law Viewpoint

Dundee Law Viewpoint is located on an extinct volcano and offers a 360 degree view over the city.

St. Andrews

St. Andrews was named after the apostle Andrew, as the town claims to be the resting place of his mortal remains.


It is known as the "home of golf" and has one of the oldest golf courses in the world.

The University of St. Andrews is the third oldest university in the United Kingdom and the oldest one in Scotland.


About one third of the town's inhabitants are students.

St. Andrews Cathedral

St. Andrews Cathedral was built in 1158 and destroyed during the Scottish Reformation in the 16th century.

It is supposed to be the largest church that has ever been built in Scotland.


Click photos to enlarge.

University of St. Andrews

The University of St. Andrews  is the third oldest university in the UK (after Oxford and Cambridte) and the oldest university in Scotland.

It was founded in 1410 and officially approved as a university by 6 papal bulls. 

One of these bulls is still kept at the Museum of the University of St. Andrews (MUSA) today.


The free of charge museum has a small roof terrace offering a nice view. One of the employees pointed it to me when she saw my camera. :-)


St. Andrews Castle

St. Andrews Castle was erected during the 12th century and served as a residence for Scotlands leading bishops and archbishops in the Middle Ages. It was destroyed and rebuilt several times.

It fell into ruin from 1592 and its Great Hall collapsed in 1801. 

A wall has been protecting the remains of St. Andrews Castle from the sea since 1886.


Click photos to enlarge.

St. Andrews city centre

I really liked the city centre of St. Andrews. There are a variety of small shops, restaurants and cafés and there are not as many vacancies as in other small towns. I suppose this has something to do with tourism and the many students in the city.

Scones in a shop window in St. Andrews
Scones in a shop window in St. Andrews
Picturesque staircase
Picturesque staircase

Photo by: Beate K.


Unfortunately, we did not visit the Botanic Garden or the Old Course, one of the most famous golf courses in the world.

Kingsbarns Distillery

 Kingsbarns Distillery is one of the youngest whisky and gin distilleries in Scotland. It was opened in 2014.

A golf caddie noticed that there was a gap in the market, when the golf tourists asked him where they could take a distillery tour.

The closest distillery was still a distance away.


A beautiful old farmhouse provided the perfect place.

A 100 metre deep hole (approx. 328 feet) was drilled to access the water reservoir under the property to use for the distillation process.

We had a very nice guided tour of the whisky distillery (you can also book a tour of the gin distillery).


Our men in front of the Kingsbarns Distillery :-)
Our men in front of the Kingsbarns Distillery :-)

(click photos to enlarge)

To give a fruity flavour to the whisky, the stills were originally planned to be taller than they actually are today.

As the building is listed, the new facilities could not be taller than the old doocot (Scots for "dovecot") tower, so the floor was lowered to built the stills as tall as possible.


The doocot tower houses the very first batch filled at Kingsbarns Distillery. 

The dovecot compartments are made of Dutch roof tiles that were once used as ballast on ships.


Arbroath is located in the council area of Angus and emerged from Arbroath Abbey which was founded in 1178.

Just like St. Andrews Cathedral, Arbroath Abbey was destroyed during the Scottish Reformation.


Arbroath has a lovely little harbour.

Again, there are many vacancies in the city due to the decrease in fishery since the 1980s.

Arbroath is known for the so-called "Arbroath Smokie" (smoked haddock).


We enjoyed a great lunch at the Wetherspoon pub "The Corn Exchange"

(the building was originally built to relieve town centre congestion caused by market stalls, but proved to be unpopular).

(click photos to enlarge)

Arbroath Cliffs

The Arbroath Cliffs are located in the North of Arbroath and can easily be reached by car.

The parking lot (Victoria Car Park) has a public lavatory.

Please click photos to enlarge.

"Gone with the wind" while walking the Arbroath Cliffs
"Gone with the wind" while walking the Arbroath Cliffs


Crail might have existed during pictish times already. In 1178, it became a "royal burgh" (a free town).

Robert the Bruce gave his permission to hold markets on Sundays, which was not very popular during the Scottish Reformation in the 16th century.


I liked the place very much.


Click photos to enlarge...

The "Crail Pottery" was established in 1965. The courtyard is filled with ceramics and you can look through the windows of the workshop.

The upper floor of the skew little house serves as a shop.


Between mugs, vases and plates there was a cat in a bowl. We had to take a close look to see that it was real... ;-))

Cat in a bowl at Crail Pottery
Cat in a bowl ;-)

Photo by: Beate K.

Fife Coastal Path

The Fife Coastal Path stretches between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Tay and is  117 miles in total.

We took a walk from Crail to Anstruther enjoying a breath of fresh air.

A very nice little hike! :-)


Click photos to enlarge...

Climbing walls on the Fife Coastal Path
Climbing walls on the Fife Coastal Path


Dunfermline has about 50.000 inhabitants and is one of Scotland's historic capitals.

Robert the Bruce - who was king of Scotland from 1306 to 1329 - is buried in Dunfermline Abbey.

The writing on the Abbey tower reads "KING ROBERT THE BRUCE" (one word per flank).


To enlarge the photos, please click.

Pittencrieff Park

Pittencrieff Park was given to Dunfermline by the steel magnate and philantropist Andrew Carnegie, who was born in the city.

I have never seen that many (American) squirrels in one place before...

What was the weather like?


During our trip, "Ophelia" raged in Ireland and hit the Scottish west coast as well.

It was VERY windy overnight and we had fog and drizzle the next day.

Most of the time it was cloudy - and sometimes even sunny - with temperatures around 15 and 18 degrees Celsius.


We spent an uncomfortable day very comfortably in front of the fireplace... :-)


Chilling at Bailie Scott Cottage
Chilling at Bailie Scott Cottage

A few of the photos were taken by our friends who travelled with us.

So - Thank you, Beate and HW, for letting me use some of your photos  :-)

Write a comment

Comments: 2
  • #1

    Evelyn Hardie (Thursday, 02 November 2017 22:20)

    Fabulous blog Tanja, I loved reading it and thanks for your lovely comments about Sandford.

  • #2

    Tanja (Caledonia72) (Friday, 03 November 2017 11:31)

    Hello Evelyn, glad you like it.