The Location

Pittenweem and St Monans are pretty fishing villages on the Fife coast, about 20 miles east of Kirkaldy, and 10 miles south of St Andrews

What's there

An easy walk of about 1.5 miles each way along a pathway above a rocky beach. The walk as described starts in Pittenweem, but you could equally start from, and return to St Monans. Another option would be to start in St Monans, walk past Pittenweem to Anstruther, then return by bus. Both villages have cafes, pubs, shops and outdoor swimming pools for the brave.

How to get there

For SatNav, the post code is KY10 2NN.
From the M90, head east along the A92 and turn up into Glenrothes. Turn right at the Preston roundabout in Glenrothes, onto the A911 signposted for Leven, Buckhaven and follow this road along to Windygates. At the roundabout, take the second exit onto the A915, signposted for St Andrews. Follow this road for about 6 miles into Lower Largo village. Here the A915 turns left, but keep straight on on the A917, and this road will take you to St Monans and Pittenweem.
If you are in East Lothian, you will see the south-east coast of Fife just over the water, but it is a long, long drive around by car. If you want to try something different, how about a 45 minute ferry trip from North Berwick to Anstruther? Anstruther is just about 3 miles east of Pittenweem. For more info, try a search on 'North Berwick to Anstruther Ferry'. I don't know how your dog would handle a ferry, but we once took our terrier on a boat trip to Inchcolm Island, and she enjoyed it.

The Walk

You can see a map of the route here.
Assuming you start from the mid-shore car park in Pittenweem, head west along the Fife coastal path, with the sea on your left, past houses and a cafe. You soon reach the end of the village, where the path opens out. The path now bends out towards the sea, skirting a crazy golf course and children's play area, then runs through a grassy area above Pittenweem tidal pool.

Now walk about half a mile along the coastal path. At one point, there are steps up to Pathhead Nurseries. The path now becomes a little uneven, with signs of coastal erosion on your left. Unfortunatly, there are few sandy beaches on this walk, only rocks. As you walk along, you will see St Monans Windmill appear on the horizon, then you will reach St Monans outdoor pool. You can catch a fine view of the windmill from the beach past the pool.
Now the pathway takes you into St Monans, where there is an alternate car park up on the right. The village is well worth a look, with a pretty fishing harbour. Now you could retrace your steps back to Pittenweem, or maybe just catch the bus back. Some dogs love a short bus ride.

When you get back to Pittenweem, one curiosity is St Fillian's cave, set just a short way back from the sea up pedestrian Cove Wynd.

St monans Windmill


Pittenweem means 'place of the cave', named after natural underground cave that's in the sandstone outcrop just off Cove Wynd. The cave is 'Y' shaped, with one arm ending in a blocked staircase that led up to a priory garden. The cave is named after an Irish missionary called St. Fillan, the son of St Kentigern, who lived here in the mid AD 600s. St. Fillan came to Pittenweem to convert the local Picts to Christianity, and lived in the cave. However the cave was dark and he could not see to read his bible and prepare his sermons, so he prayed to God for help. God then caused Fillan's left arm to glow with light, so he could see to write with his right arm.

Fillan travelled throughout Scotland and there is a tale about him building a church at Auchentyre in the Highlands. Fillan had an ox, which he used to carry supplies to the church site, but a wolf came along and killed the ox. St. Fillan then had words with the wolf, and convinced it that it should take the place of the ox, and carry the materials up to the church. Fillan became famous after his death and was honoured by the Scottish religious community. The Abbot of Inchaffray carried Fillan's bell and staff to the Battle of Bannockburn to seek God's assistance in the war with the English. After the battle, Robert the Bruce founded a priory at Pittenweem in Fillan's honour.
There is a holy well inside the cave, dedicated to St Fillan, and the water in it is supposed to have healing properties. Fillan is the patron saint of the mentally ill, and in medieval times patients were tied up with rope and left in the cave overnight. If the ropes had come loose by morning, the patient was supposed to be cured. Pilgrims still sometimes visit the cave today, and Christian services are sometimes held inside.

If you walk up Cove Wynd, you will see the cave entrance behind a locked iron gate. However, I'm told that the key is available from the Pittenweem Chocolate Cafe nearby, for a small fee.

Facilities on this Walk

Cafe nearby
Pub nearby
Poo bins available
Toilets available
Partly wheelchair accessible
Historical buildings near the walk

Walks Near Here

Tap or Click on the Icon to see a picture of each walk. Click below the picture to visit the walk page.


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