Bike ride: East Neuk, Fife

Pedal around picturesque fishing villages in the East Neuk to work up your appetite for some award-winning fish and chips.

Coastal village

East Neuk bike ride

20.5 miles/33km | 4 hours | moderate

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1. Start

Leave Anstruther harbour travelling west via Shore Street then Rodger Street. At the roundabout with the A917 go straight over and then over a mini-roundabout before turning left, following signs for Cycle Route 2. As the track bears right towards a farmhouse keep ahead. Stay on track until a T-junction, turn right towards Arncroach. At the next T-junction turn left past Kellie Castle.

2.  Reservoir ride

In Arncroach turn right opposite the bus shelter and past a reservoir. Turn right at the junction with the B940 signed to Anstruther and Crail. When you reach the B9131 turn right, then immediately left onto the B940 signed to Scotland’s Secret Bunker, an underground base that was intended for government in the event of nuclear war.

Harbour and town
Yachts and fishing boats at Anstruther Harbour/ Credit: VisitScotland, Kenny Lam

3.  Fleet Air

At crossroads turn left onto the B9171, signed to Kingsbarns and follow signs for Cycle Route 1. Turn left onto the A917 briefly, then first right. After a wood the road bends sharply left towards a farm, turn right onto a gravel track. Eventually, turn right at the road into Crail.

On your left you can see the remains of HMS Jackdaw, the most complete abandoned Fleet Air Arm station in the UK.

4. Into Crail

Continue ahead down High Street then take the first left down Castle Street to reach the picturesque beach and harbour. In the 18th and 19th centuries, white fish and herring were landed here but today Crail boats bring in mainly shellfish. You can buy fresh lobster and dressed crab from a hut beside the harbour. Return the way you came to the centre and leave the village by turning left and north onto the A917, signed to Kingsbarns. Fork left on the B940 and then, at a crossroads, turn left onto the B9171. Keep on this road for 2 miles before turning left signed Cycle Route 2.

Fishing village on coast
Crail village, Fife/Credit: Getty

5. Back for dinner

In Kilrenny turn left down Main Street. Cross over the A917 at traffic lights then follow the right lane facing you. Fork right towards Kilrenny Mill caravan park, then left and ahead to Cellardyke. The harbour was formed in the 15th century with the assistance of Dutch dyke builders. Many architectural features in the East Neuk Ð such as curved gable fronts Ð mimic those of Holland, a legacy of ancient sea-trading connections.

Continue ahead to return to Anstruther to visit the Scottish Fisheries Museum, where you can see model boats, a reconstructed fisherman’s cottage and even a clinker-built Zulu yawl, one of the last drifters used to fish herring. The town was once the capital of the Scottish herring industry and one of the busiest ports in the country until Shoals deserted the Forth about 50 years ago. Local quaysides do, however, still supply the Anstruther Fish Bar, Scotland’s Fish and Chip Shop of the Year. Lemon sole and haddock, landed at Pittenweem, dipped in batter and fried in beef dripping are top sellers.

East Neuk map

East Neuk walking route and map

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