Fife Coastal Path: Anstruther to Elie with an angel

9-14-15:   I believe there are angels among us…  ~Alabama

Yes, so many times when we may be tempted to take a wrong turn down a difficult path, someone appears to help us find our way. Today was no different.

The cold rain is drizzling down on us as we shuffle our way along the muddy path. We approach a coastal church with high tide up to the gated cemetery in front with no easy path around. The sign points to the high tide path which goes away from the coast and is quite long, but we decide that is our best option. Out of nowhere and in the rain, an older woman appears and stops us from taking our chosen path. No, that path is a muddy mess with all this rain and very long. Take these steps up and go around the front of the church, inside the cemetery and go over the stone fence. That will connect to the path directly on the other side of the church.

Anst-1110590We also find the church open for viewing and take refuge from the rain for a while. Coincidence?  I think not. Thank you, Angel lady!

Anst-1110609I believe this structure may be the remains of Lady’s Tower built for Lady Jane Anstruther in the latter part of the 18th century and was used as a bathing house for her. She was a naturist and from this point she was able to enter the bay below without being seen by the local residents of Elie. ~ longdistancewalks.org

Anst-1110663After arriving back at Anstruther, we walk uptown for a rewarding pint and supper. According to this sign there is no need for a babysitter if parents need a night out!!

Anst-1110680rThe evening views in Anstruther are spectacular as we consume our hot, crispy fish & chips. We try NOT to feed the birds as instructed!

Anst-1110688rThe evening walk after fish & chips includes a visit with this gregarious Scottish fisherman. Mackerel are the fruits of his labors today which will be sold to area restaurants.

Anst-1110707rOur B & B includes a nip of sherry for a nightcap and a decadent chocolate treat. Ah-h-h-h…  Sweet dreams as we rest our weary bones for the bus trip to Edinburgh tomorrow.

Below is a YouTube link to a short video of our adventures today.

 

 

 

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:

 

 

 

St. Andrews: The home of golf (Even on a rainy day)

Historic records show that golf has been played in St Andrews, Scotland for more than 600 years, although many believe the game’s origins here date back to the 12th Century.2015_St.Andrews-1110296r 2015_St.Andrews-1110293r 2015_St.Andrews-1110278
Sh-h-h-h-h… and stay out of their way!

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St. Andrews Tourist Hostel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qpDWK5o73M

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We locate our hostel for the night in the town of St. Andrews, Scotland and find the beaten-in side entrance. It looks as though this dodgy site has seen its share of people in need of anger management classes.

Oh, no!! What scary experiences are in store for us now?

We creep up the stairway and find a nice common lounge area and a clean kitchen stocked with dishes, pots and pans. A friendly gal in the small office shows us our room filled with bunk beds and large windows facing the street for the best Beeking view ever. Add in a welcome party for new college students across the street and you have a recipe for entertainment plus! Randy had plenty of new people to visit with and we grew to appreciate our new home for the next couple of days at St. Andrews Tourist Hostel.

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The friendly hostel manager has lived all over the world. Fascinating conversations, to say the least.

St.Andrews-1110327webMeet Laura Lizbeth, a face and body artist. She competed in the World Body Painting Festival in Austria in July 2015.  Another interesting pair was a father/son staying while the father competed in a St. Andrews golf tournament.  He won his regional competition to earn a spot to play on the prestigious course.

We meet so many interesting people by staying at hostels.  It’s kind of like camping with a roof over our heads.

 

The Search for Hungry Hills Farm

September 9, 2015:

Our ancestry includes proud Scottish roots through our mother whose maiden name was Sharp. The mission of this portion of our trip to Scotland was locating the farm of our ancestors.

Longmanhill, Scotland is located some three miles east of the city of Banff-McDuff in Gamrie Parish on the north coast of Scotland. From the top of Longmanhill, on a clear day, one can see out over the North Sea. This long, gently sloping hill consists of a few farms, one of which is Hungry Hills Farm. In all likelihood, this area is the ancestral home of the Sharp family dating back to the 1600’s and 1700’s. ~ Sharp Family History AddendumOctober 2001

Thanks to our determined taxi driver from Banff, our mission was accomplished!

Why did our ancestors leave such a beautiful land? Was it due to the Scottish Clearances?

Whether it was economic necessity as described by some, or ethnic cleansing, as described by others, the net result was that between 1783 and 1881 a documented 170,571 Highlanders were ejected from their traditional lands. Records are very sparse and it’s been estimated that the true total was very much greater than this. ~ tartans authority.com

These Scottish people were cleared from their homes mainly to make way for sheep, the wisdom at the time being that the sheep were more profitable than small tenant farmers. While some Highlanders left their homes
voluntarily and went abroad, most of the evictions were forced upon an unwilling population and were often carried out using the most despicable of methods. ~ yourscottishdescent.com

If anyone has an interesting link or information pertaining to this topic, please include these into the comments section of this post.  Thanks!

 

Rest in Peace…

We had the opportunity to visit this unique and special resting place for pets of all kinds near Cullen Harbour Hostel in Cullen, Scotland on September 8, 2015. Stevie was one of the first local residents we met along the shoreline and it seems as though everyone in town knows and loves him.

The Cullen, Scotland pet cemetery started in 1992, after a local doctor asked local resident, Stephen (Stevie) Findlay, to bury her pet Spaniel and he later decided to bury his own beloved pet nearby. I was not aware of the controversy concerning the cemetery encroaching onto neighboring grassland until stumbling upon a newspaper article (Click on the link) published September 23, 2015 in the Daily Mail: Fears over future of seafront pet cemetery…

These are “straight out of my small travel” camera images and not as artistic as those featured in the Daily Mail article linked above.

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Cullen-1100818 What a view…

Culloden Battlefield near Inverness, Scotland

Welcome to Culloden Battlefield, the site of the last major battle fought on British soil. Here, on April 16, 1746, two armies clashed in a final confrontation over the thrones of Britain. In just one hour the army of the British government under Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland crushed forever the Jacobite army under Prince Charles Edward Stuart. This is a very emotional battle for the Scottish people, as the Clans lost their right to wear their plaid colors, play the bagpipes or publicly meet as a family group. Scotland_Inverness-1100621r

The wild and atmospheric moor where the battle took place is where more than 1500 men are buried as a result of the Battle of Culloden.  Click on the link for more details of this historic event in Scottish history. The Memorial Cairn is in the background of this photo.

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Inscription on the Memorial Cairn.

inv-1100669rFlag marking the start of the English line of defense.

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Flag marking the start of the Jacobite line. (According to the audio tour guide)

inv-1100635r inv-1100644r inv-1100638rcrMemorial flowers and stones on family memorial sites. Andrew P. Fazes, President of the Luton Paranormal Society was filming the moor for paranormal activity while we were there. I checked the website and see nothing there from our visit that day. Hope we didn’t scare the ghosts away!

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Placed on either sides of the road driven through the battlefield in 1835, these headstones bear the names of the clans. Erected by Duncan Forbes in 1881, they mark where the battle dead, who amounted to over 1000, were buried by local people. They were identified by their clan badge, a plant sprig worn in their bonnet.

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Old Leanach cottage:  The original farmhouse of Leanach survived the battle and has been restored several times. The roof is heather thatched, a traditional Highland craft.

Following the Battle of Culloden, the way was opened for the Highland Clearances that started some decades later, when vast numbers of Highlanders were cleared off their land by the landowners to make room for more profitable sheep. Surplus tenants were ‘cleared’ off the estates from about 1780. The first mass emigration was in 1792; known as the ‘Year of the Sheep’, when most of the cleared clansmen went to Canada and the Carolinas. Scots left their native soil to live out their lives in America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. ~ Education Scotland.gov.uk

Prince Charlie eventually made good his escape to France, but the price of his adventure for the Highlands was high.

Final destination for my Scottish ancestors? Minnesota… worked out well for me.

Inverness, Scotland

Sunday, September 6, 2015

We head through the Fort William tunnel and hop onto a bus…  Destination?  Inverness, Scotland!whw_day9-1100533eThe word Inverness is from Scottish Gaelic language and means mouth of the River Ness. Inverness is the administrative centre for the Highland council area and is regarded as the capital of the Highlands of Scotland.  ~ Wikipedia
Scotland_Inverness-1100582rInverness Castle is in the background overlooking the River Ness.

Scotland_Inverness-1100602rInteresting architecture throughout the city.

Scotland_Inverness-1100603rcrInverness Tourist Hostel  is our home for two nights. Filled to the max due to a music seminar at the university, but they provide coffee grounds, electric hot water pots and a well equipped kitchen, so life is good. (Life is not so good from 6-8 a.m. as we wait for the kitchen to be unlocked with no caffeine)
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Ivan, the hostel employee extraordinaire, is very friendly and helpful. He’s from France, studying extreme sports at the university and with his personality, I’m sure he will do well in life.

Scotland_Inverness-1100605rMeet the Outlander Girls!  Enjoyed visiting with them at the hostel and hearing of their adventures and interest in the Outlander series. They were even lucky enough to be part of the “Rob Roy” 6 a.m. serenade in the hostel lounge room. Such an interesting trio and so easy to converse with.

Culloden Moor lies nearby, and was the site of the Battle of Culloden in 1746, which ended the Jacobite Rising of 1745–1746.  Visiting the battle site sounds like a good plan to me. Tomorrow…

West Highland Way: Kinlochleven to Fort William

September 5, 2015: Kinlochleven to Fort William

WHW_Day7-1100286e While gazing over at the campers cooking their breakfasts, I do a last-minute check to see if I have everything.  Yes, I remembered to get our sandwiches out of the hostel refrigerator and pack them in my backpack. (I have been known to forget!)

whw_day8-1100312eWe start our day with Laura from Berlin. I often find myself thinking of her and hope all is going well with her life.

 

 

whw_day8-1100333eWhat a beautiful site for wild camping, overlooking the town of Kinlochleven. Beautiful weather today and hikers seem to be going at a leisurely pace as if savoring their last day of hiking.
whw_day8-1100444eJoan, AKA The Beast, is ready to tackle the last leg of the hike with Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the U.K., in the background.

whw_day8-1100474eWe are fortunate to be able to share part of this last day with Mike and Stacy (Ireland/Ukraine) as we descend into Fort William. Such a lovely pair…

whw_day8-1100493eThis is the last we see of Leon and his gang from Holland as they are staying in the campground just outside of Fort William. We notice they still have energy to play tricks.  Oh, to be so young again.

We see many runners from the Ben Nevis race walking back to their vehicles with their medals and trophies.  Apparently, I didn’t have enough energy to pull out the camera. After walking 16 miles today, I don’t think we’ll attempt Ben Nevis.

Maybe, some other time.

Mike and Stacy are going on through town to pay homage to the new end of the trail, but we are close to our check-in deadline for the B & B so we must bid them farewell.  Sad to see them go.whw_day8-1100497eWe appear to be faking glee and excitement. Maybe we are a little disappointed to not have all of our WHW friends cheering with us at the end.

Hold on.. Who is that I see chatting in the distance? No, it can’t be.  Yes, it is!!!  Mandy just happens to appear along our route.

whw_day8-1100507creLater, we meet up with Mandy and Karen at a the Grog and Gruel Pub, popular with the Ben Nevis race crowd as you can see by the race numbers in the background. The fun-loving Scottish gentlemen in these photos are our photographers tonight so that we could get some group photos. You can’t help but love the Scottish people.

whw_day8-1100508dmvWe also spend time this evening visiting with a minister from Canada on sabbatical doing research. I can’t remember her research topic…  Could an evening in the pub provide inspiration for a few sermon topics?whw_day8-1100510eCheers to the West Highland Way!
96 miles and we did the WHOLE thing! We may walk slowly, but we never walk backward.

Here is the video of our last day hiking the West Highland Way: