After last month’s focus on the East Neuk of Fife, I decided it was about time I discovered the delights of the area for myself.
I immediately fell head over heels in love with the beautiful coastline and its string of picturesque fishing villages, all within easy reach of each other. Our base for the long weekend was Elie, tucked into the western side of this incredibly scenic corner of Fife. With its lovely local shops, fabulous deli, long stretch of beach, pretty lines of whitewashed houses and wonderful golf course, Elie is an ideal holiday spot. Here are just a few of my highlights.
Elie Golf Course
As the mother of a toddler, I haven’t found much time for golf in the past few years and so a round at Elie Golf Course was a real treat – and the perfect place for me to get back into the ‘swing’ of golf. I love links courses and Elie did not disappoint.
It is one of the oldest golf courses in the country and even as a relative beginner I could see that it is full of charm and a real gem of a course. The unexpected sight of an old submarine periscope straddling the starter’s hut is sure to make you smile. The ‘Periscope’ first hole is quite unique and as well as its use for checking that the first fairway is clear, it offers visitors a fantastic 360 degree view of the countryside and coastline.
It was one of those idyllic Scottish summer evenings, where the surrounding land and seascapes were dipped in layers of light, and a round of golf was a wonderful way to enjoy the panoramic views. My favourite hole was the 3rd, with its raised tee and sweeping views over the Firth of Forth (which happened to be one of my few good drives despite the distraction!). The fast greens really tested my golfing skills and although it did take me quite a few holes to start to feel comfortable with my clubs again, I very much enjoyed my experience of the course.
My husband, who is a keen golfer, loved the course and commented on its great condition and character. We both particularly enjoyed the 13th hole, one of the holes that meanders alongside the sea (and described by five times Open Championship winner James Braid as ‘the finest in all the country’).
Elie Earlsferry Beach
The mile long expanse of golden sand that runs from Harbour Beach (when the tide is out) and curves into Earlsferry Beach is now one of my favourite beaches. I took countless photos of its gorgeous yellow sands and line of colourful beach huts backed by dunes. From the harbour, where Elie Watersports is based, to the houses that form a backbone to the sand, you can soak up the stunning views in every direction.
The beach is, to me, the perfect family-friendly activity and my son certainly seemed in his element exploring this beautiful beach: looking for shells, picking up fistfuls of wet sand and throwing stones in the water. And of course making the most of the huge space in which he could run.
Just as we arrived in Elie the heavens opened. Yet we were quite startled to discover that the skies had changed quite dramatically whilst we had been unpacking and eating dinner – and so our first experience of Elie was an evening walk to the lighthouse in glorious sunshine.
The lighthouse is perched on an arm of land reaching out into the Firth of Forth, at the end of the pretty Ruby Bay. From the lighthouse you can enjoy views back towards the town, as well as across to North Berwick and Bass Rock.
Follow the path that runs to the east of the lighthouse and you’ll come to Lady’s Tower, gazing out to sea from the edge of the land. It is said to have been built for Lady Janet Anstruther as her summer house and changing room. I loved the story that apparently she would send a bell ringer around the town before she went swimming in the sea to warn the townsfolk to stay away.
Again it is a tranquil place to immerse yourself in Elie’s gorgeous seascapes.
Ardross Farm Shop
On the A917 just outside Elie, you’ll find the fabulous Ardross Farm Shop – Farm Shop and Deli of the Year Winner 2014. It is brimming with freshly picked vegetables, local meats, farmhouse cheeses, home baking, delicious ready meals and much more. (I particularly enjoyed the Victoria plums and kale on offer). With the colourful displays of fruit and vegetables, it is a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds.
Where is your favourite place in Elie or the East Neuk? Leave your comments or questions below.