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Anstruther >  Google™ Map May 2023  Fife Coat of Arms

an the + sruthair Scottish Gaelic little stream. Population - 3,950.

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May 2023

Fife Coat of Arms

Two return tickets to 'Anne-Strutha' please...
Erm, 'Anne-
Strutha?'...
It's all right,
Bob's got this... 'Anne-Strootha?'

Well, that's saved you a few bob because the driver's just kicked you off their bus[1] on the three strikes and you're out rule in this part of Fife. It's pronounced 'Ainster' as in 'I ain'st a clue why anyone would pronounce it like that.'

Anstruther - Shore Street

[1] This was taken in Anstruther so it's unlikely you would be asking for two return tickets to Anstruther. Regular readers, yeah right, should already be familiar with this hilarious, narrative device and we simply don't get to use it everywhere, so there!

That's not the only bus you're likely to encounter as evidenced by room for a couple of coaches by the RNLI station. This scenic harbour is something of a day-tripper's delight, you see, where you can sample, get this, the best fish and chips in Scotland, scratch that Britain*, scratch that the world!

Anstruther - East Green
Anstruther Fish Bar

This desirable accolade was awarded to the Anstruther Fish Bar in 2009 and if that seems a little distant, they're still in the running annually for some flippin' prize or other.

Not that SlyBob got to sample. This being a Friday, the queue was nearly up to St Andrews where that's another story. One guy interviewed on some TV travelogue or other was waiting for a... steak pie! A steak pie! A steak pie! There's a perfectly good bakery for that and these are the best fish and chips in Britain* man!

* Probably, they say.

  The Waterfront (Shore Street)

The Fish Bar has a sit-in option but fans of the fin can find fancier fayre a few doors down at the Waterfront. Saying that, it's not that fancy so for that head to the Cellar but only if you're not too tight and\or late to book a table.

You'll find the Cellar hidden behind the front where a well-groomed foursome is arriving to tuck into their Michelin-starred tasting menu, which may involve some foraging.

  Model Solar System (Shore Street)

Astronomical types visiting Anstruther may well observe an unusual attraction, a scale model of the solar system. When it's said 'model', what is really meant is a series of plaques pinned to buildings.

The Sun can be found, appropriately enough, on the old Sun Tavern and they come at you thick and fast on the front of the Scottish Fisheries Museum. The relative distances between planets are respected, you see, so it's all the way along to Thorntons the solicitors for Uranus, stop sniggering, and by the time you get to Pluto, you're halfway to Pittenweem!

The museum, by the way, is all tragic tales of fisherfolk and irresponsible overharvesting of herring stocks, no doubt. That can't be confirmed but the cafe's coffee wasn't half bad.

A scenic harbour you say? It's certainly that, alright, and while most of these craft look to be leisurely, there's still a sustainable fishing industry operating out of here and the nearby villages.

Anstruther Harbour
Anstruther Harbour

What with this, the coaches, the TV cameras and the best fish and chips in Britain*, it's hard to believe that you can't believe that this pair of intrepid travellers haven't been here before?

This area has been bypassed, you see, on the way up to somewhere like Forfar, five or four times, and East Fife, for now, can be filed under thoroughly undiscovered.

It's not just us, neither, and while it's hardly no best-kept secret, that's just the way the locals like it, they say, at least the chatty bunch in the New Ship Tavern do.

Fife's East Neuk is also a little farther from the Forth Road Bridge than first thought but the sign that you're here is down the dip off the main road through where the businesses have been repurposed to provide pleasure-seekers with knick-knacks.

Anstruther - Shore Street

* Probably, they still say.

  Eastern Touch (Cunzie Street)

Further adding to Anstruther's allure is a tandoori of the traditional Scottish variety. By that it's meant that they tend to be a bit sweeter and while Sly's was fine, Bob's could have passed as custard.

Anstruther - Eastern Touch

It's a BYOB operation so head up the hill to the Co-op™ for something as bitter as possible, a bottle of Joker IPA being just the job.

Anstruther runs east into the village of Cellardyke where the fleshpots are fewer and the streets rather narrower.

Cellardyke - James Street
Cellardyke - James Street

There's a hint to the local wildlife and it's near here that Bob saw a dolphin on the way to rearranging the boot. They're no strangers to the mouth of the Firth of Forth, the common bottlenose, not shown, but still a right treat and a guaranteed grin.

That made for a slightly sheepish confession to Sly although she did clock a kingfisher and eyeball a bittern years before I eventually did.

Cellardyke had its own once-thriving harbour going back to the 1450s but a stonker of a storm in 1898 saw the surviving fleet relocate to the newer facilities at Anstruther.

Unlike the rock pipits, not shown, neither, who are happy to hang around doing whatever pipitting is on and around the rocks by the shore.

Pipit? The nuthatch definitely does, it's the BMW™ of birds, and to the unenlightened eye, the pipit is more of a Peugot™ 205.

  Isle of May National Nature Reserve

That hardened lump of lava out in the estuary is the Isle of May, last seen at a distance from Dunbar.

Near Anstruther - Isle of May

A retreat for religious types in the past, in the main, 'the May' is now a National Nature Reserve, no less, and home to nesting seabirds, when in season. There are a couple of options to visit the puffins but that's a hard sell today.

Isle of May? We might well do if that sun ever makes an appearance even if this is still late April, actually.

All of this, so far, in Ainster Easter so it's over the Dreel Burn to, well, Wester Ainster, innit? Highlights include yet another fleshpot, the Dreel Tavern, and a residence decorated with shells, something similar not seen since Margate.

Anstruther - Dreel Burn
Anstruther - Dreel Tavern
Anstruther - The Buckie Hoose

The shells are the work of an eccentric slater in the 1850s to a house not that much younger than the Dreel. That dates from the mid-1600s, which is about the same as the starting price of their mains.

Watch your Green Cross Code™s, mind, as you negotiate the narrow, twisty road to get here although you might be able to shortcut via the beach when the tide's oot. That brings you to the Esplanade, which is another narrow lane to a car park, really, but is also where you'll find Neptune if you're following.

  Dreel Tavern (High Street West)

What's thought to be called an example of diminishing returns. A fantastic seafood platter followed by something passably Italian then a disaster of a dessert that was as dry as a desert and could have done with some of the Eastern Touch's custard to sweeten it up.

Following a near-fatal encounter with some sugary shards, take the edge off with a tot of Uisge Beatha from a growing selection of skillfully sourced malts and then, despite years of practice, pretend that you like it.

There's what looks like a folly in the not-too-distant distance that turns out to be a war memorial.

Unveiled in 1921, it has since been enveloped by the local golf course although there's access via the Fife Coastal Path. Hole in one? Sadly. Some of these poor men would undoubtedly have been shot.

Mentioned for no other reason than it's a chance to blow off the cobwebs before heading off to somewhere like Forfar, five times now, but at least East Fife, for the first time, hasn't been bypassed and can now be filed under not-exactly-thoroughly but thoroughly-enjoyably discovered.

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