Marcial’s day 62: St Andrews to Queensferry

Day 62
Date Thursday 23rd August 2013
From St Andrews
To Queensferry
Mileage 60
Weather Misty, little wind
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  55.990989, -3.397779 Marcial\'s day 62: St Andrews to QueensferryDay 62 Date Thursday 23rd August 2013 From St Andrews To Queensferry Mileage 60 Weather Misty, little wind Here’s what you’ve got in store for this stage, Gary. (Directions)


Here’s what you’ve got in store for this stage, Gary. I confess that this isn’t by any means the prettiest stage you’ll do. There are some attractive places, granted: Crail is a pretty little town; there’s a lovely little harbour surrounded by well-kept cottages at Elie; and there are some really great bits off off-road cycling right by the very edge of the Forth, especially the 7 miles or so from Kinghorn to Inverkeithing. Very best bits of the day, for sure.

But a lot of the 60 miles I did yesterday from St Andrews to Queensferry was along a boring A917. The countryside was nice enough, and the weather was pretty much perfect – no wind, no rain and only rolling hills to get over. But I missed the drama and contrast to the sights further north. Here are a bundle of nondescript places – like Anstruther with its waves of new-build lookalike homes – or worse: Leven is depression personified – stooped, toothless men ambling down a high street of charity shops, Greggs and Boots, while teenage girls push buggies. There are caravan parks all over the area too, with long metal containers with windows fixed into the hillside with Jags and Rovers parked alongside. And Kirkcaldy must win the prize for worst beachfront in Britain: you’ll ride along a potholed prom, with roadworks around you, and all there is to look at is the back of a shopping centre, a multi-story car park, a factory, and a swimming pool that’s closed down. No wonder Gordon Brown found his mouth incapable of smiling.

Queensferry is great though, cobbled stones and 18th-century cottages, snuggled between to Forth rail and road bridges – that’s a brilliant experience, by the way Gary, cycling over the bridge way over the water with just a chest-high hand rail keeping the wind from blowing you over; and the rail bridge truly is an engineering marvel to behold. There’s a lifeboat station here too. I was watching them as I drank outside the pub last night. They were rushing down into their boat, putting their gear on, and I overheard them wondering aloud to each other whether it was going to be driftwood that they’d find. Half an hour later, when I was on my next pint, the sirens of police and ambulance signalled something more serious, and I saw a stretcher being taken down the pier. Hats off to those RNLI guys.

They say there are thunder storms coming today. Nothing yet… But I’m keeping my waterproofs near the top of my bag.


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