Saturday, 10 October 2015

Aberdour near Edinburgh, Scotland's Hidden Gem

Harbour in Aberdour ©Solange Hando

Aberdour makes a lovely day trip from Edinburgh, just a 30 minutes ride from the city over the spectacular bridge spanning the Firth of Forth.

The name means 'water mouth'-here the Dour Burn enters the Forth- and when the railway replaced the pleasure steamers, the old coal harbour transformed itself once again and is now a delightful marina, tucked between the old jetty and the wooded banks.

Aberdour Castle ©Solange Hando

In this sheltered and strategic spot on the south shores of the Fife, the Mortimer family built the first castle and the nearby church of St Fillan around the 12th century. Later the property passed into the hands of the Douglas family, where it remained ever since, and was extended many times over the centuries.

At first sight, there seems little to explore but don't be fooled: these nostalgic ruins will take you by surprise, here a cavernous fireplace, there a bread oven, a tumbling tower or the original well. Best of all are the extensive terraced gardens, complete with orchard, beehive dovecot with 600 boxes and superb views over the countryside and the estuary.

Coastal Path on Aberdour Peninsula ©Solange Hando

In Aberdour, you can follow the coastal path around the peninsula, in a protected area where you might spot all sorts of birds, including oyster catchers and redshanks. Here and there, trees and shrubs cling to sheer cliffs and masses of wild flowers bloom along the trail, honeysuckle, foxgloves, thistles and more.

This is part of the Fife Coastal Path, stretching 117 miles from the Forth to the Tay and claiming the longest continuous coastal walk in Scotland.

Looking back to Aberdour from the Fife Coastal Path ©Solange Hando

By clear weather, even on this small Aberdour section, you can be sure of gorgeous views, the village nestling in the bay, the hills rolling all around, the open waters of the estuary where you might see Inchcolm Island and its abbey, popular for weddings, and Edinburgh in the distance.

Aberdour Silver Sands Beach ©Solange Hando

Then, when you reach the tip of the peninsula, you discover the fine Silver Sands, the most popular of Aberdour's two beaches, though almost deserted at times.

Add the old village with its winding lanes, the gardens blooming with flowers, the haunting castle, the quaint little church and it's no wonder that Aberdour, this small undiscovered gem, should have received so many awards in recent years, including 'Best Small Coastal Village' in Fife and Scotland.

Aberdour, Village in Bloom ©Solange Hando

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