The Fife Coastal Path is nationally renowned for its stunning scenery, breathtaking views across the Forth estuary and for its 150km of prime hiking paths stretching from the Forth Road Bridge in the south to the Tay Bridge in the North.
Less well known though are the sections of this path that make for a fantastic cycle ride too. Some parts of the coast path are best avoided by cyclists, particularly in the East end of Fife. Between the fishing villages of Anstruther and Pittenweem cyclists would need to negotiate a flight of 30 steps to stick to the coast path and near Earlsferry a thrilling chain walk tests hiker’s nerves to the max and would be impossible to traverse with a bike! These can be avoided by taking road detours but much better cycling is to be had at the West end of the coast path near the Forth Road Bridge.
Heading West towards Edinburgh from the small market town of Leven, cyclists will have to make the first part of the journey on road, following the coast along the fringe of Leven, Methil and towards Buckhaven. Once at Buckhaven the route joins the coastal path and becomes off road and much more scenic.
From here the path meanders through the small towns of East Wemyss and West Wemyss, former mining communities with pretty stone cottages and red pan tiled roofs. Next the path leads into Dysart, a picturesque fishing village with a lovely harbour, a perfect spot to relax and have some refreshments along the way. From here the route will head into Ravenscraig Park and then along the road into Kirkcaldy.
Although technically road based, Kirkcaldy has a wide promenade along the sea front that allows cycling, so there’s no need to do battle with the traffic along this stretch. Past Seafield tower the path becomes grassy and quieter, following the railway for some distance before reaching Kinghorn.
From here on the route joins one of Scotland’s main official cycle routes, the NCR1. Well signposted and well-maintained tracks make this part of the route a pleasure to ride, although more adventurous cyclists may wish to stick to the walkers’ path as it offers exiting terrain and a closer view of the estuary and beaches.
The next village on the route is Aberdour that has an ancient church, St Bridget’s, which sits right on the beach, making a stunning place to relax with a picnic lunch. From here on the NCR1 breaks away from the coastal path, but stick by the sea and you won’t go far wrong.
Eventually the route arrives at North Queensferry and the Forth Road Bridge, where it’s advisable to pass under the bridge and through a hotel car park to get to the West side of the bridge to avoid a large flight of stairs up to the pathway. All in all the route runs for 62KM and will make a nice all day leisurely cycle with plenty of stops to explore the pretty towns and villages along this coast.
For a shorter route you can start in Kirkcaldy instead of Leven as there are plenty of connections by bus and train to both towns from Edinburgh or North Queensferry.