The Fife Pilgrim Way

While Scotland is still in lockdown, I am finding ways to see something else than the coastal path around my house. It is beautiful and I still love the views. However, it also gets a bit dull to only ever pick from two routes: Left or right. My motivation has suffered from that and other things I already wrote about in this post.

My route home yesterday.

To help me with those struggles, I got a bit creative. It is still not allowed to drive somewhere for exercise in Scotland as that doesn’t count as essential travel. Going to the Lomond Hills is out of bounds with that. But I could be dropped off somewhere and then run back home. And that’s exactly what I did yesterday. James drove me to Clatto Reservoir and I ran home via the Fife Pilgrim Way and the Fife Coastal Path.

 

The Fife Pilgrim Way

East Lomond and West Lomond in the distance.

The Fife Pilgrim Way is gorgeous and very well waymarked. I had a map with me and also created a GPS file on my phone in case I got lost, but I didn’t need either of those. I ran along walls and fences between feels, past rural farms, through picturesque villages and along quiet country roads.

Especially Ceres was very charming, with a pretty stone bridge and old stone cottages lining the streets. Further, I had some beautiful views over the area, with the peaks of East Lomond and West Lomond rising in the distance. Those views almost made me forget the long uphills before. Albeit not extremely steep, constantly ascending for over 1k can be quite draining. It certainly didn’t help that I have done little hill training since the beginning of lockdown.

The forest around Craigtoun Park looked like out of a fairytale.

As I was approaching St Andrews, I passed through a beautiful forest and eventually followed the Kinness Burn all the way from Craigtoun Country Park into the heart of the town. Despite being well in the town area, that was hardly noticeable as I was passing under the shade of trees along the river. Only the number of people out there gave away that we were in town. Eventually, I left the river and made mz way through the town centre. I hadn’t been there since lockdown, and it was weird to see almost everything closed and the streets so empty.

 

The Fife Coastal Path

View of St Andrews

After making it to St Andrews Cathedral, the official end point of the Pilgrim Way, I hit the Fife Coastal Path for my way home. A beautiful field of bluebells offered amazing views back over St Andrews. James was waiting for me at The Rock and Spindle, a rock formation along the way. We had a quick climb up those and took a short break sitting on top. Despite having climbed up there plenty of times before, doing it on tired legs after 24k of running is a challenge. It’s the best preparation for mountain races I can do, without actually being able to go to the mountains. But who knows when we will see races like that again…

 

Climbing on tired legs is no mean feat.

After an energy bar, we ran the remaining 5k home together. It was nice to have some company. Normally, the small ups and downs on stone steps don’t slow me down much. On tired legs however, they seemed much harder. I hadn’t had legs that tired in ages, and it was a good feeling to be pushed out of my comfort zone. I might be a bit of a masochist, it seems.

When we finally reached the front door, I sure was glad. Exhausted, but happy, I plonked down on the sofa and didn’t move much for the rest of the day. I sure will do something like that again! It was a much needed change.

 

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