Monday, 30 July 2007
The Scottish coastal communities of Anstruther and Cellardyke lost over 100 men (and one woman) in the First World War. The book shows that almost every facet of the conflict can be traced through their experience. The 180 pages draw upon extensive research to document what happened to all those commemorated on the memorials, and is augmented by material provided by their relatives such as letters from the trenches, postcards from POW camps and photographs of the men in uniform and in their civilian life. However the book goes far beyond personal accounts and places the local experience into the context of the war and also the nature of remembrance. The end of the war saw local disputes as to how those who died, and those who returned, should be celebrated. The fact that there are separate memorials at either end of these adjacent communities shows the strength of feeling, and division, which commemoration engendered. Buy This Book.
Sunday, 29 July 2007
Friday, 27 July 2007
Best Scottish Tours of St Monans Parish Church. St Monans Parish Church, in The Kingdom of Fife, Scotland, dates back to 875 when St Monan, or possibly his relics, were buried here and a shrine was established to venerate his memory. The church is situated close by the shore in a most beautiful East Neuk setting.
Thursday, 26 July 2007
The Devils Footprints by East Neuk Author, John Burnside. Once, on a winter’s night many years ago, after a heavy snow, the devil passed through the Scottish fishing town of Coldhaven, leaving a trail of dark hoofprints across the streets and roofs of the sleeping town.
Michael Gardiner has lived in Coldhaven all his life, but still feels like an outsider, a blow-in. Now living in self-imposed exile out on the point, Michael feels at one with the sea-birds and the changing light of this ancient landscape – yet more distant than ever from the dark, closed community of the villagers. But that is about to change.
When Moira Birnie decides that her abusive husband is the devil and then kills herself and her two young sons, a terrible chain of events begins. Michael’s infatuation with the fourteen-year-old Hazel takes him on a journey towards a defined fate, where he is forced to face his present and then, finally, his past. Having confronted his own demons he must return, walking in penance and penitence, to be reborn into a world where he was always a stranger.
Written with the exquisite clarity and power of a folktale, The Devil’s Footprints is the story of a man trying to come to terms with a suspended life, and the fear, guilt and unbearable grief that mark it. Revealing what lies beneath the surface of the everyday world, John Burnside has written a novel of mysterious and terrifying beauty – as primal and thrilling as cloven hooves in the snow. The Devil's Footprints.
Hellfire and Herring. A vivid and moving account of the author’s upbringing in the 1940s and 1950s in the little fishing village of St Monans in the East Neuk of Fife, Scotland. Rush returns decades later to rediscover his childhood, and offers a frank account of how it was for him.
This evocation of a way of life now vanished demonstrates the power of the word to bring the past timelessly to life. Rush writes of family, village characters, church and school; of folklore and fishing, the eternal power of the sea and the cycles of the seasons. With a poet’s eye he navigates the worlds of the imagination and the unknown, the archetypal problems of fathers and sons and mother love, and the inescapability of childhood influences far on into adult life. Hellfire and Herring.
Best Scottish Tours of Kellie Castle, East Neuk of Fife, Scotland. Just inland from the historic coastline of the East Neuk of Fife, Kellie has a long documented history dating back to the twelfth century. In 1150 Malmure, Thane of Kellie witnessed a charter for David I. The lands and original castle were held by Robert of London, an illegitimate son of William the Lion in the first half of the following century. In 1266 these were transferred to the Siwards, a Northumbrian family of ancient lineage that had aided Malcolm Canmore in his campaigns against Macbeth in the 1050s. The Siwards of Kellie chose poorly in the Wars for Scottish Independence however, siding with Edward Plantagenet and losing their Scottish lands as a result. Kellie passed to an Oliphant kinsman of the Siwards who enjoyed the diplomatic immunity afforded by being married to a daughter of the Bruce. Walter Oliphant and Elizabeth Bruce took possession of Kellie in 1360 but preferring to live on their Perthshire estates, gave it to a minor branch of the family. The Oliphants of Kellie built the oldest parts of the castle that now survive including the square fourteenth century tower on the north of the site. The 5th Lord Oliphant inherited the castle in 1593, adding the central block and the south tower. These Renaissance additions were carried out at a difficult time in the history of Scotland however. The departure of the Court for London in 1603 was a devastating blow to the Scottish economy for the Court was a great engine of patronage and consumption. Minor gentry suffered as the flow of royal posts and favours dried up and the economic recession affected farm rents and estate revenues. The Oliphants were bankrupted by spending heavily at the wrong time and had to sell the Kellie estate in 1613. It must have been little consolation to them that the castle's new owner. Sir Thomas Erskine, was host to the king himself when James VI and I made his only return visit to his homeland in 1617.
Later Erskine Earls of Kellie suffered for their loyalty to the Stewarts. Alexander was imprisoned in the Tower of London for supporting Charles II at Worcester in 1651 while the 5th Earl, also Alexander, supported Charles Edward Stewart together with a small contingent of Fife gentry in the 1745 Rebellion, receiving three years in Edinburgh Castle for his pains. Ruined by 1850, the restoration of Kellie owed much to the Lorimers, an Edinburgh family of academics who rented Kellie as a summer home between 1878 and 1948 and ultimately purchased it in that year. Best Scottish Tours of Fife.
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
Old St Monans in the East Neuk of Fife, Scotland. St Monans, also sometimes spelt St Monance, fishing port par excellence, is pictured here in its heyday before the fishing industry collapsed and, as befits the importance of this industry to the town it dominates the book. Old St Monans is also a tribute to photographer William Easton, much of whose excellent work is featured here. Old St. Monans.
Old St Andrews in the East Neuk of Fife, Scotland. Although to the outsider St Andrews may appear to have changed little, these photographs reveal that this is not the case. Past events such as car and motorcycle racing on the West Sands, and a poignant picture of evacuee children arriving at the station are just a couple of the subjects featured. There's extensive coverage of the Fishergate and those that lived there, as well as life around the harbour and the old Step Rock bathing pool. Old St. Andrews.
Old Pittenweem in the East Neuk of Fife, Scotland. Fishing, first for herring and then later for white fish, was enormously important to Pittenweem and features heavily in this book with perhaps half being devoted to the shore, harbour, housing and related industries. The remainder of the book covers the town, with Eric Eunson's text up to his usual high standard making this an informative and readable story. Old Pittenweem.
Old Kilconquhar and Colinsburgh in the East Neuk of Fife, Scotland. These two villages lie within the historic Parish of Kilconquhar, which has been an important religious centre since at least the twelfth century. While the village of Kilconquhar grew up around its church, Colinsburgh is said to have been founded by Colin Lindsay, 3rd Earl of Balcarres, to house his disbanded Jacobite troops. It showed signs of becoming an important commercial centre at an early stage in its history, and both villages benefited from the development of the railway network in the late 1850s, when both were served by stations. Pictures included show curling on Kilconquhar Loch, views of both villages' main streets, Kilconquhar House, Charleton House, Balcarres House and its South Lodge, cottages at Balneil and the remains of Auld Robin Gray's cottage. Old Kilconquhar and Colinsburgh.
Old Elie and Earlsferry in The East Neuk of Fife, Scotland. The history of attractive Elie, covering its development from a ferry, whaling and coastal trading port through to its rise and gradual fall as a seaside resort. There's an unhurried feel to the atmosphere of these photos, which show quiet streets with people going about their business at a leisurely pace. Old Elie and Earlsferry.
Old Anstruther in the East Neuk of Fife. Features photos of Billowness, Anstruther Wester, Buckie House, NBR station, East Anstruther, Chalmers' Birthplace & Memorial Church, Elizabeth Gourlay, West Anstruther, Cellardyke and Kilrenny, also most of the town's principal streets and much fishing industry and maritime interest. Old Anstruther.
Tuesday, 24 July 2007
The Crail Town House with its stunted tower and Dutch air is one of the most noticeable buildings in the place. The arms of the town and the date 1602 are to be seen on the walls, and the old cross stands hard by. The dismal cells are now disused.
Sunday, 22 July 2007
Cellardyke is a coastal village in Fife, Scotland. The village forms an easterly extension to Anstruther and lies to the south of Kilrenny. It is one of the East Neuk villages, and the village in which I was raised. Tour Cellardyke on a Small Group Tour of Scotland.
Saturday, 21 July 2007
Anstruther, East Neuk of Fife, Scotland. Anstruther is one of the most picturesque villages on the north coast of the Forth, packed with architectural delights and filled with historical resonance. Trade with the Low Countries began as early as the late fourteenth century; during the eighteenth century it was home to a chapter of the dubious gentleman's club The Beggar's Benison and during the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth it enjoyed its heyday as one of the main centres of the Scottish herring industry. Today it houses the world-renowned Scottish Fisheries Museum. Anstruther was in fact, until recently, two distinct communities. The small settlements of Anstruther Easter and Wester grew up on either side of a burn. In spite of their nearness they grew in different ways. Both were granted charters in the 1580s and became self-governing communities, which they remained for the next 340 years. This book traces the history of both burghs from earliest times to the present day. Through meticulous research which includes reference to the records and minutes of the two town councils, to local newspapers and even the deeds of old houses, it provides a fascinating insight into the histories of the two burghs and port. Anstruther: A History.
Cycle East Neuk of Fife. The Kingdom of Fife describes cycle routes exploring every corner of this historic and unspoilt region. Each one provides a vivid snapshot of some aspect of the Kingdom, the panorama of the Firth of Forth with its islands and bridges, the ancient East Neuk fishing villages of Pittenweem and St Monance, the splendour of Falkland Palace and much more. Produced in association with the Kingdom of Fife Millennium Cycleways project, it opens up the area for cyclists of every level of ability. 25 Cycle Routes: The Kingdom of Fife (25 Cycle Routes).
Fife Street Atlas. This detailed, colour atlas of Fife and Tayside gives comprehensive coverage of the region from Brechin and Montrose in the north-east to Stirling in the south-west and including Kincardine and Queensferry. The mapping is based on Ordnance Survey data and gives the user complete coverage of all urban and rural areas. The mapping is at a scale of 1.25 inches to one mile, with large scale mapping 2.5 inches to 1 mile in the south and for the following towns: Arbroath, Auchterarder, Brechin, Carnoustie, Crieff, Cupar, Dunblane, Dundee, Forfar, Glenrothes, Kinross, Kirriemuir, Leven, Montrose, Perth, Rattray and St Andrews. The mapping is also complete with postcode boundaries. The atlas is ideally suited for both business and leisure use. There is a route-planning map at the front and the main maps show every named road, street and lane clearly with through-routes highlighted. School locations are marked and emergency services, hospitals, police stations, car parks and rail and bus station locations are all featured. There is a comprehensive index of street names and postcodes, including schools, industrial estates, hospitals and sports centres. Street Atlas Fife & Tayside (Pocket Street Atlas).
The Wee Book of Fife. If the Kingdom of Fife only offered the photographer picturesque old fishing East Neuk villages like Elie, St Monance, Pitenweem, Anstruther and Crail, it would be sheer paradise, but there's so much more to it than that. There's the historic town of Dunfermline with its magnificent Abbey - the site of Robert the Bruce's burial. Formerly Scotland's capital and the place where the king in Sir Patrick Spens's poem famously drank the 'bluid-red wine', Dunfermline is the birthplace of philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and has one of Britain's most beautiful public parks, Pittencrief Park. Situated a few miles south-west of Dunfermline is Culross. Here, amongst the narrow cobbled streets and the houses with their crow-stepped roofs and distinctive pan-tiles, you'll find yourself transported back to the sixteenth century. To the east is Fife's most industrial town, Kirkcaldy, and further round the coast is St Andrews, the home of golf. Scotland's oldest university, currently the place of study for a certain William Windsor, was founded here in 1413. And the beaches at St Andrews and Burntisland are justly recognised as two of Scotland's top beaches. So, whether you live here or are just passing through, The Wee Book of Fife is the perfect memento of a unique area. The Wee Book of Fife.
St Andrews, Fife, Scotland. A fascinating and comprehensive history of St Andrews, from the dawn of Pictish times to the present, based on several decades of residence in the burgh and on original study of its thoroughfares and byways. The book focuses on a lively selection of colourful characters who have made St Andrews what it is, from doughty residents Sir Hugh Lyon Playfair and Cardinal Archbishop David Beaton to illustrious visitors like Mary, Queen of Scots, John Knox and Samuel Johnson. Thousands of others, from artisans to golfers, have contributed to St Andrews' past, to make it a burgh whose history forms the core of Scotland's story. St.Andrews: City by the Northern Sea.
The Fife Coast. A guide to the Fife coast which takes the reader or walker from the Forth Bridge along the castles coast and then into the East Neuk. The book is in sections allowing a walk from end to end or a days sampling of a particular spot. The Fife Coast: From the Forth Bridges to Leuchars by the Castles Coast and the East Neuk.
Fife Buildings. Fife's most famous buildings include Dunfermline Abbey, with its sturdy Norman nave; St Andrews cathedral, the focus of the old University town on the North Sea coast; the foursquare post-Reformation kirk at Burntisland; the palace of Falkland, where James V became Britain's first patron of Renaissance architecture on the grand scale; and the little royal burghs along the coastal fringe, each with its harbour and its strings of vernacular houses presided over by the kirk and tollbooth. Cupar, at the centre of Fife's long peninsula, is the seat of local government and one of the most charming and prosperous of Scottish towns. Less well known are Fife's tower houses like Scotstarvit, the old seaboard castles of St Andrews and Ravenscraig, the picturesque Balgonie Castle and the thoroughly domesticated Kellie Castle. Of Fife's churches one of the most beautiful is Dairsie; and three centuries of inventive design in burial monuments come to an unexpected climax in a work by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in the MacDuff cemetery, East Wemyss. Fife (Pevsner Buildings of Scotland).
East Neuk of Fife Map. This map is part of the Ordnance Survey's Explorer series designed to replace the old Pathfinder map series. At 1:25,000 scale this detailed map shows a host of East Neuk attractions including gardens which are open to the public, nature reserves and country parks as well as all official footpaths, bridleways, roads and lanes. Other facilities covered include: camping and caravan sites, picnic areas, viewpoints, and selected tourist information. The main advantages of this map are the geographical design of the sheetlines to capture the best local coverage, and the coverage of a larger area for value for money. The series is aimed mainly at the experienced map user but can be used by tourists and locals alike. St.Andrews and East Fife: Cupar, Anstruther and Crail (Explorer).
Friday, 20 July 2007
Recollections of East Fife Fisher-folk. During the early part of the twentieth century, fishing still formed one of the main industries in this famous corner of Fife. Belle Patrick spent her first thirty years in and around Anstruther, and in the mid 1960s wrote this memoir in order to put on record the fishing way of life, believing it was ‘so individual, so independent, so different from the present-day standardised pattern of life that it deserve[d] to be put on record’. She describes how the fishing year began shortly after the New Year, as soon as the men had sobered up after Hogmanay, with the ‘winter herring’, and goes on to recount the arrival of the fish-buyers from all over the country.
Like a succession of vivid snapshots, this book is a charming yet insightful memoir of a way of life now gone forever. From it emerges a detailed picture of fisherfolk and fishing: their boats, methods of fishing, life and customs. The result is a valuable record of what was a central part of Scotland’s fishing industry.
It is enhanced with a number of photographs of fishing life in the east Neuk of Fife in the early part of the twentieth century. Recollections of East Fife Fisher-folk.