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21 February 2009, 20:24
At the mouth of the Firth of Forth lies the Isle of May; over a mile long and with 200ft cliffs, it has become one of Scotland’s most cherished bird sanctuaries. The Isle houses Scotland’s first lighthouse, built in 1636, when James Maxwell constructed a square tower with a brazier on top.
Anstruther is popularly remembered as the herring capital of Fife. However, it has a profound spiritual significance. The town is the birthplace of the preacher Thomas Chalmers, founder of the Free Church of Scotland.
Fife’s stake in the fishing industry is now held by Pittenweem. The harbour dates back to 1600 and the town has boasted a fish market since 1800.
The area around the town of Wemyss has been a hub of coal-mining since the 12th century and, in the 1890s, the Earl of Wemyss built a pit to house the men who worked for him and helped him make his fortune.
In 1823, Michael Narin imported the idea of linoleum production from Bristol to the town of Kirkcaldy. The coastal settlement boasts a contrasting landscape, with the ruins of Kirkcaldy Castle sitting within minutes of town centre tower blocks.
Kinghorn, from the Gaelic for "Blue Head", was the site of one of Scotland’s worst tragedies. In 1285, Alexander III was killed when he rode his horse off the cliffs of the town.
Bo’ness neighbours Blackness Castle, built in 1440 by Sir George Crichton. Despite its foreboding exterior, the castle caught the eye of Hollywood megastar Mel Gibson who used it for his version of Hamlet.
North Berwick seaside resort used to advertise itself as the "Biarritz of the North". In Edwardian times, the breezes and blusters were popular with genteel visitors from Edinburgh who enjoyed the open-air pool. Now the pool is closed, the chilly climate being less appreciated by today’s holidaymakers. Hillwalkers, though, can still embrace the outdoors on Berwick Law, a 613ft dormant volcano that perches over the south of the town.
The hamlet of Burnmouth sits at the foot of a 200ft grass cliff. The harbour was constructed around 1830 and its docks once housed 25 boats. The first major village on the east coast of Scotland, Burnmouth witnessed the signing of two treaties between Scotland and England – one in 1384 and a later agreement in 1497.
Berwick-upon-Tweed punctuates the end of Scotland and the beginning of England. However, some Scots feel a strong affinity with the town and believe it should be part of Scotland. Nationalist MSP Christine Grahame launching a campaign in 2008 to return the town’s sovereignty north of the border.
Whomever it truly belongs to, this beautiful town brings us to the close of this leg of our journey.
Last updated: 11 May 2009, 12:58