Edinburgh is Scotland’s second largest city after Glasgow, and situated in the South-East of Scotland. When you think of Scotland, you probably see heather-covered hills, sparsely populated towns and estates – the scenery in Harry Potter and Skyfall.
Edinburgh is none of these things. A beautiful city though it is (I very much appreciate the lack of sky-scrapers), it is still a city. Lots of people, lots of traffic, modern bustling life taking place amongst the backdrop of gorgeous historical streets and buildings. The magic of the setting is lost on the residents here – who often laud Glasgow or London as more interesting places to live. I disagree. London is great to visit, but I hate the feeling of unrelenting, inescapable city. Too many people, too much everything.
Due to Edinburgh’s proximity to the sea and smaller size (especially when compared with London), I don’t feel the hurried movement of big-city life as dramatically. However, seeing as the biggest city I’ve previously lived in was Victoria BC, the city, to me, still feels a wee bit cold and unwelcoming at times. This is where the day-trip becomes invaluable. Edinburgh is quite close to many smaller towns and seaside villages – all easily accessible by bus or train.
So when my Canadian friend Ky and I began to feel city-fever (a metropolitan version of cabin-fever), we hopped on the train to a place called Burntisland.
We took the train across Fourth Road Bridge, all along the seaside.
Optional soundtrack for the rest of the blog. The Kooks Seaside:
Blessed with absolutely perfect weather for a Scottish January, we pulled into the seemingly deserted town of Burntisland. It was a Saturday, so we assumed the village residents had taken to the city – our opposites. Surprisingly (or perhaps ironically), Burntisland is not an island, and it seemed rather lacking in fire damage.
This town is not ideal if you desire of a place attractions and distractions; it is, however, beautiful, with an award-winning beach that looks across the sea to Edinburgh (which has a very distinct skyline comprising of Arthur’s Seat and the Castle plateau).
The beach is a gentle “U”, with absolutely perfect sand. White and fine, but packed down with damp (it is winter, after all). It’s quite a rocky beach too – lots of clam and razor shells to sort through – but these rougher bits seem to segregate themselves from the sand enough for you to be able to enjoy both.
My favourite part about the beach was the tide line. Here I found a lot of black charcoal-like wash-up that I’d like to think has something to do with the name. A small spit of land reaches out towards Edinburgh; if you ever happen to actually find yourself in Burntisland someday, please beware of the footing on this spit, but do walk out there. There is a tiny ruin of some sort of lighthouse or watchtower, and amazing views, but also bushy grass-hidden potholes!
Ky and I had lunch at a funky, bright café called Potter About where I had some of the best eggs benedict I’ve ever eaten (and I’ve sampled a LOT of bennys). The quality of the food and the immensely friendly service (such a stark contrast to the city) makes it an absolute must for coffees and lunch in Burntisland.
It was so lovely to get out of the city that on the train back to Edinburgh we decided to do a quick hop-off in Aberdour.
Another seaside village, Aberdour seemed much more residential than Burntisland, but still very picturesque. With only half an hour to explore before then next train, Ky and I were mostly interested in the large castle ruin than the waterfront.
From the brief time we spent there, Aberdour seemed to boast a ‘main street’ of only one block, but it was lush, green, and the castle ruin and perfectly preserved medieval church were well worth the detour.
Back into the city again and we were already planning our next day trip.