How do you spell the word enchanting? That’s easy.
C R A I L.
Wouldn’t you agree? I would say that Crail is my imagination come to life, but actually it was my jigsaw puzzle that came to life!
Just ninety miles to the northeast of Edinburgh, Scotland where the Firth of Forth and the North Sea meet, lies the picturesque, historic fishing village of Crail. Several of these old, charming fishing villages dot the coastline along this northeast corner of the Kingdom of Fife. In my opinion, Crail is one of the prettiest. Once a hub for the export of such commodities as fish, salt, mutton, and wool to mainland Europe, Crail Harbor still maintains itself in small capacity as a working harbor today, well-known for its fresh shellfish.
Crail’s history reaches quite far back–to the time of the Picts, in fact (sometime between the Late Iron Age and the Early Medieval Periods). Historians know that by the 800’s Crail was a well-settled village and by the 1100’s it was a thriving town. Robert the Bruce made Crail a royal burgh in 1310, marking it forever as the oldest royal burgh in the East Neuk of Fife.
When you visit Crail, see the gorgeous harbor, of course, but also take time to meander down the lovely old cobbled lanes and admire the quaint fishing cottages. Visit the Parish Church which dates in part to the 1100’s. Stroll past the Tolbooth which was built in 1598 and once housed both the town council offices and the jail. Or have a relaxing cup of tea in one of the local tearooms.
Take a stroll along the cliffs and bask in the breathtaking sea views.
Crail is accessible via the main motorway, but for a more scenic route, consider driving the picturesque Fife Coastal Route, a pretty 85 mile drive around the northeast coast of Fife. Or, if experiencing the coast on foot is more your thing, you might choose to walk a portion of the 117 mile Fife Coastal Path which runs from the Forth Estuary in the south to the Tay Estuary in the north. This path passes by Crail and other fishing villages including Elie and St. Monans.
No matter how you choose to get to Crail, the important thing is just to get there. Because it’s one of those places that’s just too pretty to pass by.