Crail to Anstruther – Section 10 | Day 8

Weather: Fair with sunny intervals, prevailing SW, 10mph, HT: 11.01am

It was a near perfect day for the short four mile row back to Anstruther; with the picturesque Crail Harbour, one of the most photographed in the world as it happens, we couldn’t have asked for better conditions.

The Isle of May, owned and managed by Scottish Natural Heritage as a National Nature Reserve
St Ayles Anstruther were able to muster two crews for this trip and, setting off in Chris o’ Kanaird and St Ayles, spirits were high. Departing at 10am allowed us to catch the very last of the incoming tide and made it an easier row home. Leaving the beach we were aware of the line of skerries to our starboard side and gently headed towards the May Island before turning to starboard and heading up the Forth to Anstruther.

Dolphins with the May Isle in the background
There was plenty banter from skiff to skiff and Annie even managed to break into song giving us a rendition of a song about the May Isle and we all tried to join in with the chorus – to some success. As the singing came to an end we were joined by a small pod of dolphins who gave us quite a show of acrobatics, perhaps this was their way of showing their approval for our efforts.

Caiplie Coves
With the effort to keep up with the dolphins it meant that it wasn’t long before we reached Caiplie Coves halfway between Crail and Anstruther. The caves were believed to be a site for Christian worship before being used to house livestock by farmers and are a frequent place for visitors and local to walk on a lovely summer’s day.

The rhythm was now steady as we passed the many creels dans laid by the local fishing boats. It can be quite a challenge to make sure the skiff dosn’t catch any of the trailing lines on a day like today, heading into the sun.

Another 30 minutes sees us pass by the harbour of Cellardyke which was built in the 16th Century and originally known as Skinfast Haven. At one point there were fishing boats built on the pier side and it was a fishing port; sadly it is not used now for fishing. The odd pleasure boat will visit, however, and in the summer the Sea Queen has seen a revival of it’s use with hundreds of people lining the shore.

The stone built houses and red pantile roofs along the shore are a welcoming site as we head into Anstruther Harbour and meet the shore crew awaiting our arrival. A great end to the day was a social BBQ on the beach to celebrate a good row and ten years of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association (SCRA).