The Fife Coastal Path is a 117 mile route that follows the beautiful coastline of the Kingdom of Fife.
Finding your way around the path can be tricky if you are new to the region but this is where Rucksack Readers steps up.
“Fife Coastal Path” by Jacquetta Megarry and Sandra Bardwell is a fully packed guide to walking the trail. The authors are both very experienced in the writing and publishing of guidebooks with each having written many very popular titles over the years.
The first thing that strikes me about the guidebook is it’s format. The cover takes the form of a gatefold and opening it up fully reveals a colourful 80 page spiral bound guide. Not only does the format make it stand out, so does the paper as it is rain proof. Being rain proof is ideal for Fife as we couldn’t claim to have the nicest of weather in Scotland.
The inside covers include an overview map showing the nine suggested stages of the route, a table showing the available facilities along the way (B&B’s. campsites, cafes etc) and finally a user friendly key to the mapping used throughout the guide.
The spiral bound guide begins with a very comprehensive introduction to the path and includes advice on planning and preparing for your walk along with some safety aspects to be aware of such as tide times. With the practicalities covered the authors then move on to describing Fife’s geology, history and wildlife. The photography used in this section is nicely shot and illustrates the informative text well.
The guide moves on and begins to document the coastal path itself. Each of the nine suggested stages of the route begin with an overview box specifying distance, type of terrain to expect, food and drink stops, side-trips and a summary of the stage covered.
The stages can be broken up into smaller legs for walkers that prefer shorter walks rather than longer ones.
A description of each segment of the stage is broken down into clearly written and easy to follow bullet points along with interesting snippets about the towns/villages that you will pass through on your journey. Again the photography used throughout is excellent and even includes the often forgotten Rosyth Castle which I personally was happy to see included.
Mapping accompanies each stage and is provided by Stirling-based Footprint maps, a small independent cartographers. The maps are clear and simple and are each displayed at a very readable 1:45000 scale. The maps are marked up well and are ideal for the beginner.
The maps do not feature a grid like OS and Harvey maps do but due to the nature of the Fife Coastal Path being a very well established and signposted route, there is little need for you to be able to create grid references to plan your route.
Another benefit of the paper being rain proof is that the maps work well with wax/chinagraph pencils allowing walkers to mark their progress directly on the map as they go and the markings can easily be cleaned it off later allowing the maps to reused by others.
The authors, Jacquetta Megarry and Sandra Bardwell have produced an excellent guide to the Fife Coastal Path. Their style of writing makes the content very easy to follow even for those new to walking which is good to see as it makes the route more accessible to many people wanting to explore the Kingdom of Fife.
A must read for those looking to take on the challenge of the Fife Coastal Path.