True to form, the seagulls commenced their chatter at around 03.00hrs necessitating the earplugs being donned to try to muffle the pervasive sound and salvage some sleep time before the alarm goes off. We rose and were ready to roll by 07.30hrs and left a sunshiny Dundee, bidding farewell to Desperate Dan and peddling along the waterfront to the Tay Bridge.
This was a novel experience for us, the access for cyclists is via a lift with the cycle/pedestrian way running along the centre of the traffic. We have peddled on other major bridges previously and there is an element of vulnerability with having the thundering traffic on one side and a huge drop on the other. We were not sure how we would feel progressing through the centre with traffic on either side, but it was actually preferable. Though the bridge was busy with commuter traffic, the cycleway was slightly elevated above the carriageways, and from our lofty position we felt very safe.
Reaching the other side, we peddled through Newport-on-Tay and then Tayport in the beautiful fresh sunny morning air hardly seeing a soul as we rode. We were soon in woodland, surrounded by the sounds of birdsong which was a joy for the senses. (I know that gulls are technically singing too but …).
We came across the March Stone, enlightened us to the historic meaning of the word march as a boundary, and realising we are in our middle age before we had this information in order to extrapolated this to understand that the Welsh Marches, near where we have lived for the last decade, must mean the Welsh boundary.
Further along in the forest we came upon a curious building and on investigation learned that it was an ice house that had been used by the fishermen to keep their catch fresh, but was now further from the shore than when it was originally built.
We had been excited to learn from fellow instagram cycle tourers, that there was an excellent crepe shack in the forest south of Dundee, and were looking forward to sampling them. Alas we were too early, the shutters were still down so we shall have to return another day.
Leaving the forest behind us we entered more arable surroundings and passed through the village of Leuchars, with it’s unusual church tower. Our route then hugged the coast around to Strathkinness via St Andrews a distance of 7 miles; or there was a shortcut option straight to Strathkinness which was less than 2 miles. No brainier really. There are those who would want to take the opportunity to pay a visit to St Andrews, and it’s famous links – we are not among their number.
So far the going had been relatively level, but we were aware that there would be hills today, and this is where they kicked in. To be fair though, although they were hard work, we had clearly improved in bike fitness as we took them in our stride, though were still glad when we reached the High Road. At Pitscottie we stopped at the White Chimneys tea room for some refreshment which included excellent Dumpling Loaf (similar flavours to a Clootie Dumpling but baked instead of boiled).
We continued on alternately climbing hills and speeding down as the route undulated it’s way to Glenrothes, though the climbs were hard work, the views were so worth it. Making good time as today was only around 45 miles, we arrived in Kirkcaldy at around 1400 where we are spending the night before our final push on tomorrow to Edinburgh,
Kirkcaldy is another seaside town, and there were seagulls in abundance as we took a walk down and along the sea front. Thankfully though they do not seem to have taken up residence in the vicinity of our hotel so fingers crossed for a peaceful sleep.