KINGDOM OF FIFE CYCLE ROUTE
Tayport to Guardbridge (Section 7)
The Kingdom Cycle Route (KCR) forms part of the National Cycle (NCN) Route 1 and is an integral part of the North Sea Cycle route. The North Sea Cycle route connects mainland Scotland, to Orkney, Shetland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands and England. In all 5,700 km or 3,500 miles of quiet roads and cycle tracks. The 168 km or 105 miles KCR is a circular route linking the Forth to Tay Bridges, running from North Queensferry to Tayport and back by way of Glenrothes and Kirkcaldy.
This section covers the 16 km or 10 miles from the Tayport, using route through Tentsmuir and 12 km or 7 1/2 miles on the direct route.
After “fumbling” your way through Tayport the route restarts amidst some houses to the eastern end of town. It is possible to bypass Tentsmuir completely, by following the B945 out of Tayport, then taking the left hand turning towards Rhynd and Kinshaldy Beach.
Pass through a gate with a curious (and useless) cycle access point, use the pedestrian gate to the left. Continue on the road and skirt the abandoned MoD site, one can not get closer to the North sea than this part of the route! Notice the WW II anti-invasion beach defences, at the far end of the MoD site is a pillbox bunker which must have utilised corrugated iron shuttering when the concrete was being pored.
Tentsmuir and the eastern coastline of Scotland was considered to be a prime landing area for a German invasion force. Tentsmuir was later an air to ground firing range, hence the number of observation towers dotted along the coast. A curious incident happened in the 1950s when one of the early jet fighters managed to shoot itself down as it flew over it's own ricocheting bullets.
Past the pillbox the track turns inland and enters Tentsmuir Forest. A choice of routes will present itself. On the left hand is the coastal route via Tentsmuir, with two items of interest and on the right is the Leuchars direct route. Having tried both routes I would opt for the direct route; it is better paved (especially for laden tourers) and exposes the bike to less sand. The North Sea Cycle Route, NCN 1 uses the left hand route.
1. Going left, and around the forest towards Kinshaldy, the forest road is mixture of hard paved to soft sandy conditions. The first item of interest is a stone marker post,
2, just off the road on the left hand side, not long after rounding the coast. The marker post denotes the boundary limits of the salmon fishers, from here to Normans Law was one fishing beat while south of the marker was another. The use of Normans Law is a bit academic now as you can no longer see the hill for the trees! The inscription is clearly written in old Scots and dates to the 1790s. Back on the bike and farther down the coast is the disused Icehouse. Here ice was used to pack the fish caught on the beach nets before transport to market. At the moment the Icehouse is closed to the public. From the Icehouse it is a long way to the next point of interest, the car park at Kinshaldy Beach,
3. Continue through the car park and turn right, the paved road will be a welcome relief. Speaking of relief, the toilets are open during the summer months. The road from the beach is narrow and can be busy in the summer, follow this road all the way through the forest, emerging out of the trees to a T-junction. Turn left and continue to Leuchars,
4. The direct route, through Tentsmuir is less interesting, though quicker and better paved. It is a straight route and links up with the road from Kinshaldy beach, turn right at the T-junction and continue to the T-junction, 4 and then turn left. The road to Leuchars is another busy, narrow road and carries slightly faster traffic. In Leuchars village, the KCR passes a characteristically un-scottish example of church architecture,
5 this example of Norman Byzantine architecture is the most northerly example in Britain... and you’ve just passed it! At the T-junction turn left and follow the road as it passes the main gate to RAF Leuchars, a former 43 Squadron Phantom and a Rapier antiaircraft missile adorn the gate. On a good day, visiting aircraft can be seen parked on the apron to the left, quit plane spotting and continue along the road. At the top of the small hill is a good vantage point, which is right under the approach to the runway, so it pays to be alert to landing aircraft. Continue to the T-junction. The KCR, at this junction was not too well sign posted,
6. Crossing the by-pass is not easy, so the KCR uses the pavement to the right, then crosses directly over the road to a dropped kerb, then continues on a shared use footpath. There is no dropped kerb for anyone attempting to directly cross the road at the T-junction, so you will have to bump up the kerb, or turn left and take the next right, towards some houses then immediate left. Otherwise, continue on the footpath from the junction and cross the road at the houses then turn left into Miltonbank Crescent, turn left at a post box and left again towards a children's play park. Look out for a dropped kerb, use the shared use footpath through the play park and over the burn using the old bridge. Continue on the footpath on the other side along the front of the paper mill and onto the new cycle track. Follow the track as it passes behind the houses and through a half barrier onto a road. Cross the road and through another barrier on the other side, one more set of barriers before the KCR finally emerges onto the main road at the Guardbridge roundabout,
7. This can be a busy road to cross to take care, cross directly over, using the central reservation, turn right then night left and over the old road bridge to St. Andrews.
All Material Copyright Of Wallace Shackleton