‘Da da da da derrrr da …” The water is foot-numbingly freezing however I mime a joyful slow-motion jog by way of the surf all the identical, whereas my brother, wrapped up in fleece and strolling boots, hums the Chariots of Hearth theme from the seashore. The title sequence of the 1981 movie – famously accompanied by Vangelis’s synth-and-piano rating – was shot 39 years in the past right here at West Sands, St Andrews.
Fife map
We’re right here to stroll a number of the Fife Coastal Path, a 117-mile route that opened in 2003, utilizing buses to entry particular person sections. It seems to be a gold-medal-winning vacation, freezing water and all.
The North Sea in spring might not supply tropical temperatures, however Fife is the sunniest place in Scotland, with decrease annual rainfall than Rome. There are miles of butterscotch-coloured seashores and the rocky shore has a fringe of untamed flowers. We’re glamping on the coast close to Elie, at Catchpenny Safari Lodges, near the cornucopian Ardross farm store, the place we purchase bread, strawberries, purple sprouting broccoli and cheerful rainbow chard.

A view again in the direction of St Andrews from the coastal path. {Photograph}: Phoebe Taplin
We arrive within the space often called the East Neuk – essentially the most northerly coast of the Firth of Forth – within the night. As we stroll the brief distance from bus cease to tent, skylarks rise and sing over the fields and fats brown corn buntings trill within the grass. All Catchpenny’s electrical energy is produced on website by wind and solar energy and there’s a range and hearth pit to mitigate the bracing easterlies. Armchairs on the sheltered veranda face over the waves in the direction of the clifftop ruins of Newark fort. Earlier, on the bus from Edinburgh, we’d had glimpses of supposedly haunted MacDuff’s fort and the tall standing stones at Lundin Hyperlinks. We crossed the Forth River on the 1960s street bridge, which since early 2018 has been open solely to buses, taxis, cyclists and pedestrians. Automobiles heading for Fife should use the Queensferry Crossing, opened in 2017.

Damage of St Andrews Cathedral. {Photograph}: Getty Pictures
I’ve explored Fife’s pretty shoreline nearer to Edinburgh on a number of current journeys, from the cobbled lanes of Culross to the harbour at Dysart. However I believe this space of untamed cliffs and fishing cities south-east of St Andrews could be one of the best but, significantly for walkers. There are (nearly miraculously) common buses, even on Sundays and late at night time. The hourly X60/X58 bus connects Edinburgh and St Andrews, whereas the 95 (all operated by Stagecoach) takes in vibrant coastal cities equivalent to Crail (luxurious muffins on the Harbour Gallery tearoom). Each work on a hail and experience system in rural areas, so you may flag down the bus anyplace protected.

Safari Lodge at Catchpenny. {Photograph}: Phoebe Taplin
Behind us on the bus to St Andrews, two philosophy college students are discussing epistemology; in a restaurant within the city, we overhear speak of “eagles” and “albatrosses” (from golfers, not birdwatchers, judging by their gear). We comply with the coast path south, previous the towering ruined cathedral, spikes of volcanic rock, swirling stacks of sandstone and good black and white eider geese. The trail runs over wildflower-blanketed cliffs and thru tunnels of glowing gorse and delicate blackthorn.
Past Kingsbarns golf hyperlinks, we flip proper alongside a inexperienced valley into the Cambo property (entry £5.50), the place the walled backyard hides tapestries of scarlet tulips and grape hyacinths beneath drifting apple blossom. The backyard herb salad within the new veggie Stables cafe comes topped with fennel fronds and wild garlic flowers. We purchase contemporary rhubarb from the store for tea and cease off on the close by Kingsbarns distillery to pattern gin flavoured with Cambo elderflowers. The bus cease is 5 minutes’ stagger away, and there’s a picnic desk subsequent to it.

Vibrant sandstone rocks on the trail close to Crail. {Photograph}: Phoebe Taplin
In Anstruther, clear sheets are flapping within the breeze by Cellardyke harbour. It’s too windy for a ship journey to Might Island so we take a look around the Tardis-like Scottish Fisheries Museum (grownup £9, youngster free) earlier than combating the seagulls off our haddock and chips from award-winning Anstruther Fish Bar. On four July, the museum, based by volunteers, will likely be 50 years outdated: celebrations start with a newly restored crusing boat main a flotilla to the harbour outdoors. Inside, shows chart a winding voyage – from eel traps and lobster creels, by way of sail, steam and herring markets to motors and quotas – by way of outdated boatyards and a complete fisherman’s cottage.
Pittenweem, 5 minutes away by bus, is the center of Fife’s fashionable fishing trade. On a cobbled alley close to the fish market, we go to St Fillan’s Cave, borrowing the important thing from a store close by: a sloping tunnel leads down by way of water-carved limestone to a easy rocky altar with a cross.

The Fisheries Museum, Anstruther. {Photograph}: Alaistair Ramsay
This stretch of coast is peppered with fascinating relics. There are castles, caves and lighthouses, a salt-panning windmill and the arch-windowed tower the place 18th-century magnificence Girl Anstruther would strip off for her day by day swim.
We’re planning to catch a practice again to Edinburgh from Kirkcaldy (the artwork gallery subsequent to the station is free and has atmospheric seascapes by painters equivalent to William McTaggert). I’ve twice noticed the darkish head of a seal bobbing within the waves close to the coastal railway. For now, we stroll to Elie and the Ship Inn, for creamy cullen skink fish soup (£6.95) and contemporary crab linguine (£18.50 as a predominant). By the point we get to a board of Scottish cheeses with quince paste and oatcakes (£7.50), late golden mild is spilling over the ocean outdoors into the pleasant, flag-floored bar and I can’t cease smiling.
• Stagecoach supplied megarider bus tickets, £30 for per week, overlaying Fife and Edinburgh. Lodging was supplied by Catchpenny Safari Lodges (sleep six, from £375 for 4 nights). LNER returns from London to Edinburgh value from £68
In search of a vacation with a distinction? Browse Guardian Holidays to see a variety of incredible journeys