Fife Coastal Path: Crail to Anstruther, Scotland

9-13-2015: We hop on a bus in St. Andrews…

Crail-1110352… and get off in the quaint village of Crail, Scotland along the East Neuk of Fife.
Crail-1110349It’s a cloudy morning and the world is slowly waking up to ready itself for the day.

Crail-1110413The path follows the East Neuk of Fife with Neuk being the old Scots word for corner. The path is well marked and follows the coast along the former Kingdom of Fife. Our views are spectacular with the sea to our left and farm country with livestock on our right.

Crail-1110473Memorial flowers lead one to speculate… what happened?

Crail-1110512Interesting plaque in Anstruther. The Dreel burn divides east and west Anstruther and the song tells how in ancient times Maggie Lauder carried King James IV over it to keep his feet dry.

Crail-1110506We enjoy a beverage with the locals at the old Dreel Tavern. Sadly, it appears as though the Dreel Tavern has become a victim of the times and is now closed for business. Click on the Fife Today link for a little info on the current status of this historic pub filled with a unique ambience and character along with an interesting clientele. Visiting with the locals always seems to make travel experiences more memorable.

Below is a short video featuring our views along the Fife Coastal Path:

 

 

 

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West Highland Way: Milngavie to Drymen

8-29-2015:  Our long awaited start to the West Highland Way has finally arrived.
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We stroll down to a cute little dining area with flags at the tables to identify our country. Kind of glad this part of the world isn’t upset with the U.S.A. right now as our flag towers over the table. 

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Living large at Best Foot Forward Bed & Breakfast this morning as we fuel up for our first day of hiking with granola cereal, smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, toast, juice and most importantly… coffee.

The air is peppered with light conversation as we visit with neighboring tables with flags from Scotland, Germany and Holland. All are here for the same purpose ~ to hike the West Highland Way.

WWW_Day1_E-1090153eWe thank and bid farewell to our hosts and they seem to especially giggle when Randy tells them his name:  I’m Randy! 

WWW_Day1_E-1090167eReady or not… here we go!!

Destination:  Twelve miles down the trail to Drymen, Scotland.

A Map of the West Highland Way

 

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12 miles later… Ahhhh, home sweet home as we receive a Scottish welcome at Glenalva Bed & Breakfast. We discover that we may be able to eat our evening meal at the oldest pub in Scotland, but we’d better get our names in as soon as we can.

Can’t miss an opportunity like that, so we drop our backpacks and walk into town. Our list of B & B rules says we must be in by 10 p.m.

Not a problem.

Click on the link below and you’ll view a short slide show/video of the scenery on this day. Locals say the views the first couple of days of the West Highland Way are boring, but I’m quite enjoying the sights.

 

 

 

 

2014 Camino de Santiago Video

My winter challenge was learning to work on a Mac computer which includes iMovie.  Here are my first results in video form:

Most still and video clips were captured with a Panasonic Lumix 150. Very good travel camera.  Lightweight, great zoom lens and can capture raw files. A few of the still photos were captured with a basic phone camera.

Almost there, but not there… Melide

Today is going to be the longest day of the trip as we cover about 30 miles or close to 50 kilometers.
Portomarin-to-Palas-de-Rei-Elevation-MapPortomarine is a couple of kilometers to the left of the map above.

Palas-de-Rei-to-Arzua-Elevation-Map Randy, Bryon and Liz start walking and their destination is Melide which requires walking the full distance of the top map and half-way into the next stage.   Will the feet survive?

2014Camino-3 Adios,  Italia!!! 

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2014Camino-1070620nrFoggy day in the woods.

2014Camino-1070625crOccasionally a cement picnic table will appear to facilitate a quick break.

2014Camino-1070627dmvThe path is worn down from centuries of pilgrims walking to Santiago.

2014Camino-1070632dmvcrWhy can’t we stay here?   In March of 2013 we did stay here and woke up to fresh snowfall.

Have Joan and Joyce been kidnapped?  Where could they be?  Um-m-m-m… shopping?

2014Camino-But first we go to the Church of San Juan since it is Sunday. This church was reconstructed brick by brick when the dam flooded the town to build a hydroelectric power plant and they were forced to relocate the city of Portomarine.

We say a little prayer for the other three trudging down the 30 mile path today.
IMG_20140824_042957_700dmvNow we hop into a cozy taxi for a joyride to Melide where we check our group into the albergue.   Every Sunday in Melide you will find a fruit, meat and cheese market where farmers bring their produce in to sell. Randy took my camera so I’m stuck with a low-end cell phone camera and Joan’s Ipod to document the day.

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IMG_20140824_043511_793dmvcrPigs feet?  Not sure how I’d cook them so I’ll pass this time.

IMG_20140824_043540_275dmvcrThis little piggy went to market…

IMG_20140824_043601_120dmvcrNorwegian cod caught in Spanish waters. Is this like lutefisk?

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IMG_20140824_043740_452dmvcrThe air is filled with noisy chatter.

IMG_20140824_060430_499dmvcrJoan negotiates our transaction and we will be supplied with delicious cheese straight from the farmer for the next several days.  Delish!

IMG_20140824_060507_631dmvJoan and I have the great plan to walk back on the trail to meet the rest of the gang to show support.  We walk and walk, but don’t see pilgrims.  This can’t be right?  We go back, find the right road out-of-town, and wait for them…and wait…and wait… and wait some more.

Finally, after almost every pilgrim has gone by, we finally make radio contact and walk to meet them. The last 10 miles have been brutal and Randy, Bryon and Liz finally limp into town, too tired to take pictures.

Painful feet, blisters and exhaustion dictate the mood tonight.

How about some cheese with that wine?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Milking time is done… for now.

Camino de Santiago Day #6 continues up the mountain, O’Cebreiro…

The path passes through a small dairy farm and we arrive just after morning milking.

2014Camino-1070308dmvThe girls are milked and it’s time to mo-o-o-o-ve on.

2014Camino-1070313dmvLooks like Grandma has kid duty and a strong grasp on her charge. Don’t even think about it, Nino!

 

Waking up with the monks… Day #3

It’s 6:00 a.m., the lights go on along with the repetitive sound of chanting monks wafting throughout the Roncesvalles albergue. (Click on video) No alarm needed when 183 people get ready to start their day.

Stage 2Our goal today is to get five beds in either Zubiri or Larrasoana which will be between a 22 and 25 km walk.  Many pilgrims walking and biking today so we may be homeless, when it’s all said and done.  Should we have packed tents, too?

2014Camino-1070032popWe say our goodbyes to Roncesvalles and start down our path for Camino de Santiago day #3.

2014Camino-1070028plThe air is crisp and talk is minimal as most put their heads down and concentrate on loosening their muscles for the day. Come on, aspirin, kick in!

2014Camino-1070063dmvcrThe early morning fog creates a surreal feeling.

 

2014Camino-1070033dmvpopTime to fortify our lunch supply as we stop at a little grocery store as we near Burguete.

2014Camino-1070034dmvI hope the birds don’t decide that Joan is their lunch, too!

2014Camino-1070035kpdmvThe path continues as farms mix in with the small village buildings.

2014Camino-1070039dmv2014Camino-1070041dmvThe first town to appear along our route is Burguete, renowned for its sturdy Pyrenean style farmhouses.   The author, Ernest Hemingway, stayed here in 1924 and 1925 while on fishing trips and also describes the village in the book, The Sun Also Rises.

2014Camino-1070050dmvBurguete is a cute little village with flower pots near many a doorway or window sill.

2014Camino-1070048dmvcrThere had once been a witch’s coven in the Burguete area in the sixteenth century. The surrounding forested region, part of the province of Navarre, was known as the Wood of Sorginaritzaga or Oak Grove of the Witches. Medieval people had believed that the presence of a white cross would save them from such evil. Spain had repressed witchcraft in this Auritz-Burguete area and eastward around Roncesvalles more fiercely than anywhere else in the country. Long before the Spanish Inquisition began in 1478, a major raid against witches took place here in 1329. This resulted in the burning of five alleged witches in a village square.  ~http://www.heatherconnblogs.com/tag/auritz-burguete/

2014Camino-1070057kpcrOur path wanders through pastures as this farmer checks his cattle.  Just like home.

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2014Camino-1070075plThe path turns to gravel with rolling hills.  Not a bad hike today!

2014Camino-1070078dmvWe wind through a small village to find a meticulously stacked woodpile, a clothesline and a neatly placed row of flower pots. To me, that is a beautiful sight and I know I could never stack wood that neatly.

2014Camino-1070080dmvThe path becomes more challenging as we proceed to Zubiri.

2014Camino-1070083dmvThe views make it worth the walk.

2014Camino-1070084dmvMaybe this should be our mantra today!

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Puente de la Rabia ~ Google

We arrive in Zubiri, which means “village of the bridge,” after crossing the Puente de la Rabia (Rabies Bridge).  In days gone by, they believed that you could walk a rabid animal three times around the central arch and cure it of rabies.   ~Brierley   

We are happy to arrive in Zubiri as we hope to stay here, but sad to find that we are homeless…

Hmmm…  what to do?  Maybe if we walk around the bridge three times we will find beds to sleep in?  Well, at least we won’t have rabies.

 

 

 

We “sheepishly” begin Camino Day #2…

stage 1 camino ele_st.jeanWe leave Orisson , but not before observing a beautiful sunrise with clouds caressing the valley.

View from orrisontimeline1

2014Cam-7crpopWe have opted for the Napoleon route which is more challenging but especially scenic, if the fog doesn’t hinder our view.

2014Cam-2pldmvcr2Horses are free to graze along the road and hillside.

2014Cam-4pldmvcr…and sheep allow us to tread through their turf, as well.

2014Cam-6pldmvcrThe video below is a short insight into our time spent sharing the path with sheep.   ding, ding, ding…  Heard bells much of the morning.

2014Cam-17pldmvcrInteresting to note that the flock has a definite leader. I can understand the references to sheep more than 500 times in the Bible to help us understand concepts and human behavior.  My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27

2014Cam-21dmvWhen you share the path with sheep and horses, you have to expect to watch your step!  This is probably why boots are not allowed near the beds in the albergues!

We are enjoying the mild, but cool, temps as we trudge along.  However, we must continue to be aware that the Pyrenees are known for unpredictable weather.  We were previously told of helicopters having to rescue injured pilgrims on this stretch…  Yikes!