Now that I’m in the midst of the hurly-burly of Paris (and loving it!), I think in some wonderment about where I was just a few days ago. While I was In St Andrews, I kept hearing about the beauty of the Fife Coastal Path and I made a point of walking along part of it a couple of days prior to my departure.
The Kingdom of Fife is the county in which St Andrews is located and the Fife Coastal Path is a 117 mile long trail that hugs the North Sea. When I visited Antibes, the Sentier piéton was my favorite part of the south of France. The Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island is another place that I thoroughly enjoy, so I had high hopes for the Fife Coastal Path.
I picked up the trail near East Sands beach. At first it was paved and passed by an upscale mobile home park where a luxury car was parked next to each green cube that was situated to enjoy a fabulous view of the sea. Then the path diverged from the shore and became a sandy trail that passed among waving tall grasses, flower-laden shrubs, and trees. In the days leading up to The Open, St Andrews was becoming increasingly busy and, dare I say it, congested. But here, on the Coastal Path, all was calm. I passed a few dog walkers, joggers, and families out for an evening ramble. The shore flirted with the trail, revealing glimpses of a rocky coastline, foam- capped surf, and water that was tinged orange by the slowly descending sun. I only walked for about an hour before I reluctantly turned back to town. If I’d had a full day off, I would gladly have devoted it in its entirety to walking the Fife Coastal path from village to village.
La solitude (lah sol-e-tood) is something that I crave from time to time. Even when I’m surrounded by people whom I genuinely like and I am thoroughly enjoying myself, I find that a time of quiet is really important to my esprit. If I never get to slip away, I feel that I’m being nibbled at by the needs of others and I get snappish. I don’t want my iPod on; I don’t want company; I don’t want an objective. Even a short break refreshes me and restores my stock of energy to respond to the needs of others. While the part of the Fife Coastal Path that I walked was rather tame, it does have more challenging stretches. It certainly met my needs for la solitude. If you are going to be in Fife, I think you’d love it.