Doing anything this weekend? Why not do the Dunhill!
I’m referring to the Dunhill Links Championship which brings even more golfing madness than normal to the home of golf (St Andrews) and the East Neuk of Fife for four whole days each Autumn (or Fall to our North American cousins). This year’s championship runs 6-9 October 2016 at 3 stunning and challenging links golf courses: the Old Course, St Andrews, Kingsbarns Golf Links and Carnoustie. It’s a “pro am” event which means that professional golfers are paired with amateurs, many of who are celebrities from the sporting world, Hollywood, TV and music industry. It somehow manages to be both fun and a serious competition with big prize money at the same time.
Here’s my lowdown for visitors to this year’s event.
Who’s playing: The professional list this year includes many of the Ryder Cup players. Big names include Graeme McDowell, Danny Willett, Lee Westwood, Edoardo Molinari, Victor Dubuisson, Martin Kaymer, Paul McGinley, Padraig Harrington and many more. The celeb list this year includes Jamie Dornan, Hugh Grant, Kyle MacLachlan, Andy Garcia, Greg Kinnear, Ronan Keating, Sir Steve Redgrave, Jamie Redknapp, Alan Hansen, Shane Warne and Sir Ian Botham. See the full draw.
Cost: Free entry for the opening rounds Thursday to Saturday. Ticketed on Sunday when the play is in St Andrews only – £20 (concession £15, free to students and under 16s).
My top tips: Beat the crowds and spend Thursday, viewing from around the 15th hole and maybe following a group of players you like right along to the dramatic finish at the 18th. Bag a seat, burger and a beverage afterwards at the golf-tastic bar at the Dunvegan Hotel, which is a good place to bump into players. Then enjoy the best viewing at Kingsbarns (not to mention the stunning scenery) on the Friday, gourmet grilled cheese from the Cheesy Toast Shack and a drink afterwards at local country pub The Inn at Kingsbarns. Bring layers of warm and waterproof clothing to cope with all weathers (it is Scotland after all!), comfy shoes for walking, your camera and phone (so you can brag to your friends about whose swing you’ve just seen!).
In pictures: Here is a small selection of the many photos I have taken at previous Dunhills:
Hugh Grant on the 18th, Old Course, Dunhill Links
Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, in partnership with Fife Council, has today unveiled its new interactive website dedicated to the Fife Coastal Path, making it easier for visitors to plan trips and discover more of one of Scotland’s most beautiful coastlines.
The new website has been designed to provide the ultimate user-friendly experience, with improved navigation and functionality throughout. Visitors to the site can now quickly access detailed information about different attraction points and map their routes.
Created with the online user firmly in mind, the mapping section has been cleverly designed so that people can easily take interactive steps along the stunning coastal stretch, zooming in and out at any point they wish.
The map also now shows visitors the vast points of interest and activities available along the 117 mile long Fife Coastal Path, which include: archaeology, geology, architecture, beautiful beaches, culture, history and fascinating wildlife. From a visit to the East Neuk’s quaint historic fishing villages to the wildly beautiful and ever changing landscape of Tentsmuir, there are endless points of interest for everyone to discover and explore. I particularly love the Pittenweem to Elie and Crail to Anstruther sections of the Path, with a pub or fish ‘n’ chips stop at the end and hopping on the no. 95 bus back.
Handy information about transport and the location of public toilets along the route is also included, making it easier to plan your walk.
Earlier this year the Fife Coastal Path twinned with Skaneleden Coastal Trail in Sweden.
To view the new interactive map and make the most out of visiting the East Neuk of Fife and St Andrews, please visit: www.fifecoastalpath.co.uk and in particular the Elie to Cambo Sands and Cambo Sands to Leuchars sections. Enjoy!
With just 3 weeks left of the Summer holidays many parents are on the lookout for exciting new activities to keep the kids occupied. If that is you then you’re in luck because the Fife Coast and Countryside Trust has scoured the region to compile a handy checklist of fun, free outdoors activities to keep everyone entertained all holiday and help you discover more of Fife’s stunning outdoor spaces from award-winning beaches to great cycle routes.
Activities on the list include hunting for fossils (e.g. at Crail), searching rock pools, geocaching, photography and wildlife spotting from red squirrels to dolphins. See who in your family can tick off the most sights on their list!
As Valerie Telfer, Business Support Manager for Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, said Fife is “One of the most visited outdoor regions in Scotland” and “we’re lucky to have fantastic facilities for people of all ages to enjoy”.
Download the full Summer holiday checklist here and find lots more useful info about exploring Fife’s great outdoors on the Trust’s website.
As a welcome message this seems very apt for Rose Cottage at the moment as we have had some wonderful guests enjoying their holidays here recently! To mention just a few:
First we had an Edinburgh mum guest, who runs excellent birthing and baby massage classes (check out the Daisy Foundation), sharing photos with us of her own adorable little ones enjoying the cottage on their holiday – so lovely to see.
Speaking of little ones, we had a couple of guests who stayed at Rose Cottage last year for a bit of relaxation when Mrs was expecting. Then earlier this year they sent us the happy news about the birth of their beautiful little girl. I was absolutely delighted for them and also congratulate them on an excellent choice of middle name – Rose!
There were even gifts! Repeat short break guests from Edinburgh bought us the most beautiful and unusual plant this Spring as a very kind and thoughtful thank you for our hospitality. Then there was our lady golfer guest who came all the way from Portland, Oregon, USA. She knitted a hat for our little girl, while she and her husband were staying at Rose Cottage! It’s such a cute hat that fits perfectly. So kind and sweet of our lovely guest to “yarnbomb” us as she called it.
In April we had a guest from the West coast of Scotland who is a popular and talented blogger (see www.lookingforthepostman.com) . He managed to find the time on his family holiday to pen the most wonderful blogpost about Rose Cottage which totally blew me away as well as excellent and very helpful blogposts about visiting some local sights (Crail for kids, St Andrews food, St Andrews sights for kids).
Meanwhile other guests were busy writing us some glowing reviews over on our Facebook page e.g. “now that we have found Rose Cottage that is where we will stay every time we get a chance – no point looking anywhere else”.
And then, as if by magic (!), a little fairy door appeared at the foot of one of the trees in the woodland area at the back of the Rose Cottage garden. So it seems that we now have a little fairy guest, perhaps it followed us back from the Fairy Glen at Craigtoun Country Park? The Rose Cottage fairy needs a name though so all suggestions are welcome!
So I’d just like to say a big, warm thank you from me to all of our wonderful guests for their friendship and kindness – you make everything worthwhile! I can’t wait to welcome more guests to Rose Cottage in the future and hope, as I always do, that they will fall in love with Rose Cottage and the East Neuk and St Andrews as much as I have.
Family holiday magic awaits in the East Neuk & St Andrews! With just a little forward planning family holidays in the East Neuk of Fife and St Andrews have always been truly magical. Now you don’t even need to do that planning yourself – just look at my brand new “best bits” list of the top 10 activities for kids in the area. Happy days!
With this easy list you can make the most of your precious family holiday time, maximise the fun and minimise complaints from the wee ones. It’s all in there from the best beaches, adventure playgrounds, tried and tested family-friendly restaurants, to favourite day trip destinations and much more – there’s something for even the fussiest little cherub.
I’ll be keeping it up to date as new things come along and all suggestions about things to add are most welcome.
Copyright Sara Scott 2016
…to Helen Pugh Photography. Helen is a fantastic photographer, mum and friend. She has given us many gorgeous, professional pictures of Rose Cottage for this website, such as this one of beautiful roses in the back garden:
And this one of a breakfast at Rose Cottage:
What’s more, Helen has recently done maternity, newborn baby and older baby shoots for our family, giving us outstanding natural, beautiful images that we will treasure forever.
Both Mr ENB and I normally hate getting our picture taken but Helen somehow manages to make it seem easy and fun! She believes that if you are a nervous or reluctant subject then you just haven’t met the right photographer yet and I think she’s right.
She is also endlessly energetic, passionate and creative with a real eye for a beautiful shot. Please do check out her website, Facebook page and Instagram account if you are looking for PR or portraiture photos that you are guaranteed to love.
Thanks again Helen!
Oooooohhhhh…everything’s getting a bit spooky here in the East Neuk and St Andrews in time for Halloween. Read my round-up of 7 of the best ghoulish and ghostly goings on this Halloween weekend if you dare…
1. Fright Night at Kellie Castle
At Kellie Castle & Garden (near Anstruther, East Neuk) on Friday 30th October it’s Fright Night. Join them for a dark castle tour with local ghostly stories and an evening of Halloween entertainment. Enter if you dare . . . The tour will be followed by a fancy dress competition and ghostly treats. (6.30-9pm, £8 adult, £5 child. For further information please call 01333 720271).
2. Pumpkin Festival
Don’t miss the SPOOKTACULAR Halloween fun at popular Cairnie Fruit Farm, Cupar. The farm sows several different varieties of pumpkins and in 2014 they produced nearly three thousand pumpkins including some “designer” white and duck egg blue varieties which proved very popular. They offer a fun selection of shapes and sizes (& colours too) to choose from! Picked pumpkins are available in the shop during the month of October. The Pumpkin Festival features: Torch Light Maze Nights (30th and 31st October, 7-9.30pm, tickets £8.75), PYO Pumpkins, Pumpkin Carving demonstrations, Face painting, Fancy Dress competitions, Kids Craft Table, Apple Bobbing Barrels, Lucky Dips, Halloween Novelties & Gifts, Autumn/Pumpkin inspired Menu and Spooky Kids Menu. (Tel 01334 655610, Email firstname.lastname@example.org)
3. Creepy cocktails in St Andrews
For adults who love Halloween how about a creepy cocktail? Lots of bars and restaurants in St Andrews, such as the House restaurants (The Dolls House, The Grill House and The Glass House), West Port bar and The Adamson, are offering suitably spooky cocktail creations for Halloween e.g. “Vampire’s Kiss”, “Trick or Treat” and “Bloody Bellini”. You can get a “Flaming Zombie” or “Corpse Reviver” at The Adamson’s Witches & Wizards Halloween Party on Saturday 31st October from 9pm until late. They’ll have plenty potions & creepy creations from the Adamson cauldron. Sounds like my kind of spirits!
4. Monster nails
Get some Halloween glamour ready for all those parties with a visit to Hepburns Nail Lounge, St Andrews. Here are some of their amazing Halloween-inspired nail creations, from their social media feeds:
5. Wynds and witches tour
Shriek with fright and scream with laughter on the Original St Andrews Witches Tour, a 70 minute tour leading you through some of Scotland’s most horrible and gruesome history. A costumed guide will lead you through the supernatural streets and weird wynds while telling you carefully-researched tales of horror and history, phantoms and folklore – but be careful… the spirits of the town are only too eager to greet you.
This tour is actually on year round on Thursday and Friday nights but the Halloween tour is extra special as it’s fancy dress. (7.30pm, £9 adult, £7 concession, departs from Greyfriars Hotel on North Street, St Andrews)
For the true story of witch hunts in days of old right here in the East Neuk read “The Weem Witch” by Leonard Low. I’ve just ordered a copy for the Rose Cottage local books collection.
In 1704, Patrick Morton, a 16-year-old smith in Fife, accused local women of tormenting him by witchcraft, setting off a witch-hunt and dragging innocent women and men into a snare of repression and death. This book tells the story of the Pittenweem witches, bringing a horrifying episode in Scotland’s past under the spotlight. (Available from Amazon, £9.95).
7. Have a Halloween Party Weekender with Fence
The Dreel Halls in Anstruther will be dead lively once again for the Fence Music Halloween Weekender. King Creosote and pals are in the Upper Dreel Hall from 8pm on Friday 30th October (£15 on door – reserved out though). On Saturday 31st there is day time fun at 12 noon and a fancy dress party at 8pm with Gummi Bako/King Creosote, onthefly and Lomond Campbell as the live frighteners, plus deejays. Fancy dress theme is Victor/Victoria – boys as girls, girls as boys (tickets £20 from the Trading Post). The weekender completes with a film afternoon showing of Young Frankenstein on Sunday November 1st, then along to the newly re-opened East Neuk Hotel in Crail for anyone who still has any energy left!
Do you know of any other spellbinding goings on in St Andrews and the East Neuk of Fife this weekend? If so I’d love to hear about them so please leave a comment. Enjoy!
The evening of Wednesday 16th September 2015 will be a special one. Why? Well this is when the very last St Andrews Night Market of the year is taking place. I guess that means it’s officially the end of the Summer – boo hoo!
The Night Market is a really fun food, drink and music Summer event at one of the best seasonal venues in this wonderful part of the Earth: the Steak Barn at Balgove Larder. A lot of work by organiser Jamie Craig-Gentles and co goes into making sure that no two Night Markets are the same by having different themes and different suppliers from all around bonnie Scotland so it is not just the usual suspects that you find at other local markets (though in Fife the usual suspects are also pretty amazing too!). Previous 2015 Night Market themes have been BBQ, golf and meeting talented local chefs. This is also a nice and family friendly event so if you have little ones it’s no problem to bring them along and they will probably enjoy it too. The Night Market started out as an idea that Jamie had after living in Melbourne and enjoying the Vic Market every Wednesday evening – he thought it just seemed like a great way to enjoy food and drink midweek as well as shop!
The theme of the September Night Market is Autumn and beer. There will be a selection of four amazing local Scottish breweries (Alechemy Brewing, Eden Mill, Campervan Brewery & St Andrews Brewing Co) seasonal wines from a horse box (?!) The Bijou Wine Co and locally sourced foods from Scotland – including Fresh Food Express, Mighty Mexican, Fresh r-evol-ution, Arbroath Quality Fish Teviotdale, Whisky Sauce Co., Raw Food – Good Food Good Feelings, Cochrane’s Kitchen, Sri Spice Ltd, The Occasional Cake Company, Salt Pig Sea Salts, Poporopo, Meadowsweet Organics and of course the Balgove Larder Farm Shop and Cafe.
Not to forget, live music from the excellent Wire & Wool to get you dancing – they will be bringing the full band along so expect it to be lively!
Roz Hart Art will be painting faces for young and old and there will be some beautiful wooden objects from Object Company.
It all kicks off at 5pm and is on until 9pm so get yourself down there with an empty belly ready to experience great tastes and don’t be late or you’ll miss all the best stuff! It’s a free event and parking is free too. As it’s the last Night Market of the year Jamie wants it to go out with a bang. He also wants to welcome back the St Andrews University students who have been away all Summer. Check out the Night Market St Andrews Facebook page for all the latest.
Here are some more of my pictures from the Night Market in July (which was the one with the golf theme in honour of The Open 2015) to give you a flavour of what to expect. So long Night Market and can’t wait to see you again in 2016!
We recently spent a wonderful two week Summer holiday at Rose Cottage – our first family Summer holiday with mini ENB (or the East Neuk Nipper as one of our friends calls her!). Sun, sea, sand, swimming, silliness, stuffing our faces – good times were had. So I thought I’d share 7 highlights from our family holiday of splendid sandy Summer days in the East Neuk and St Andrews.
Chilled-out country walks through the idyllic East Neuk countryside, with abundant wildflowers, pretty fields, sparkling seas and big dreamy skies brought back happy memories of my own summer family holidays as a child.
So no.1 on my Summer highlights list is to have a leisurely East Neuk country walk and bring home a posy of wild flowers.
With wildflowers but also great views over the East Neuk villages of Earlsferry and Elie and beyond across the Firth of Forth, plus a delightful encounter with some local seals, another highlight of our holiday was no. 2: walk the Fife Coastal Path from Earlsferry to Shell Bay. On this walk you can also enjoy seeing Elie Golf Course where long socks are mandatory (due to the long grass in the rough), the starter looks through a submarine periscope before giving you the all clear and blind shots are common – in fact at the 9th you have to ring a bell to tell the players behind you that you’ve left the green (read a review of this quirky course here)! By the golf course you walk along a nice quiet beach, which is where we spotted the seals. Then a steep climb up the cliff rewards you with the fabulous views, plus some interesting World War 2 structures and then the view over the other side of the cliff down to Shell Bay. Either continue on down to Shell Bay or head back to Earlsferry, perhaps doing as we did and grabbing a drink and tasty bite to eat in the 19th Hole, Earlsferry as a post-walk reward.
A little bit further along the East Neuk coast was highlight no.3 – lunch at the East Pier Smokehouse, St Monans. Sample fishy delights smoked on the premises such as my favourite hot smoked salmon in a lovely relaxed, light and airy place right on the pier in the quaint and quiet East Neuk village of St Monans. It’s so close to the sea that you feel like you’re on a boat. There’s a nice family atmosphere and children are welcome. Don’t miss the excellent cakes and coffee as well. At the weekends it is also open for more formal 3 course dinners, though you must book in advance.
Of course it wouldn’t be a Summer holiday in the East Neuk if you didn’t go to the beach so no. 4 on my list is beaches, particularly Kingsbarns and Elie beaches.
Another Summer highlight in Scotland is strawberries, which brings me to no.5 on my list – Strawberry hill, otherwise known as Allanhill Farm. Children are guaranteed to love all the outdoor Summer holiday fun on offer here, including giant straw bale to climb, fort, farm animals, tractors to sit in, swings and sandpit – all free. The strawberries themselves are incredibly delicious and there are lots of strawberry-themed foodie delights in the cute country farm shop and tearoom – don’t miss the strawberry tarts if you have a sweet tooth. The views down the hill to St Andrews are also very special.
On the family holiday highlights for some of our recent guests and no.6 on my list is Sunday sundaes, slurped while strolling around sunny streets. Jannetta’s ice cream emporium in St Andrews is all pretty and shiny after its recent refurb and open until 10pm, making it ideal for a takeaway-and-walk dessert after dining in one of St Andrews’ many excellent restaurants. The hard part is deciding which flavour you want as there are so many to choose from – I personally couldn’t resist the charms of the Nutella which was a chocolately, nutty, continental scoop of awesomeness. Quite different to Jannetta’s is the Ice Cream Shop in Pittenweem – it’s a proper traditional sweet shop, a piece of nostalgia for times gone by – and I highly recommend buying a cone of their Peaches ‘n’ Cream ice cream and walking around pretty Pittenweem with it. Yum! (Also when combined with a walk ice cream is calorie neutral surely?!)
Finally no.7 on my list is all about Summer adventures for the little ones at Craigtoun Country Park, St Andrews. Just outside St Andrews you’ll find Craigtoun Country Park which has been much loved by families for over 50 years. Mini ENB loved having a picnic on the grass by the boating lake and taking a ride on the “Rio Grande Railway”. Lots of families were enjoying taking a pedalo or rowing boat out round the lake, past elegant swans and a fairytale castle-like structure. For older children the adventure play park looked pretty cool and other attractions are the tractor ride, bouncy castle, putting green, crazy golf, glasshouses and even geocaching. Well worth a visit with the wee ones.
So there are my 7 highlights from a magical Summer family holiday in the East Neuk and St Andrews – already looking forward to doing it all again in Summer 2016!
Visitors to the East Neuk of Fife have long benefited from a pretty fabulous day trip by boat to the Isle of May, in the middle of the Firth of Forth (read all about it in my blog). However it wasn’t possible, unless you chartered your own boat, to get all the way across to the other side of the Forth by boat. Well now you can! Summer boat trips are now running from Anstruther in the East Neuk of Fife to North Berwick in East Lothian, linking two great coastal towns on either side of the Forth. The maiden voyage sailed on Friday 7 August 2015 and seems to have been a great success.
As Seafari Adventures Forth, who run the service, say, the route follows the centuries old Pilgrims route for worshippers heading to and from St Andrews. It also links together two of Scotland’s greatest golfing locations, the home of golf in St Andrews and the ‘Golf Coast’ in East Lothian.
Here are the details:
- Website: www.seafari-edinburgh.co.uk
- Journey time: approximately 45 minutes
- Boat: the catamaran ‘Seafari Explorer’ which is licensed to carry 55 passengers. More about the boat
- Luggage: Bike racks are being fitted on board so the boat can carry bicycles for those wishing to complete a great ’round forth’ day trip, or for those heading on longer routes North or South. Bikes and golf clubs are carried free of charge.
- Sailing times: these differ slightly each day due to the tides but generally the outbound trip from North Berwick departs at 09:30 and then departs Anstruther at 10:30. The return trips are at 18:00 (North Berwick) and 19:00 (Anstruther) This means that passengers have the whole day to explore ‘the other side of the river’ before returning home again. Timetable
- Cost: £25 return for adults, £20 concession, £15 child (free for under 3s) Book online
On the voyage you may see all manner of wildlife from puffins, diving gannets, eider ducks and seals to more elusive whales and dolphins. Keep your eyes peeled, with the help of the crew! Landmarks to enjoy on the way include the Isle of May and its numerous lighthouses, Bass Rock, Berwick Law and lots to see further afield if visibility is good such as Edinburgh’s Arthur’s Seat.
When you get to North Berwick you can enjoy the lovely beach, golf courses, harbour, Scottish Seabird Centre (with cameras to view the wildlife on Bass Rock, the Isle of May etc.), Museum of Flight and excellent boutique shops, bars, cafes and restaurants. More tourist information
Visitors coming the other way to Anstruther will be able to enjoy the harbour, beach and quaint village, Scottish Fisheries Museum, award-winning fish and chips, gift shops, cafes and restaurants, golf courses and walking the Fife Coastal Path e.g. to Pittenweem or Crail.
All aboard me hearties!