I hope everyone is doing well! Today we are going to jump in our car and head about fifty miles to the northeast of Edinburgh to a delightful little village on the Firth of Forth.
You know how sometimes in travels you happen upon a place that is just as pretty as a picture? Pittenweem, Scotland is one of those places.
Mr. C and I unfortunately didn’t have a lot of time to spend in this sweet village and there were some things we missed seeing (like St. Fillan’s Cave – the hideout of the Irish saint with the glowing arm – d’oh!), but this place is most definitely going on the list for a revisit in the future. In fact, we are considering making Pittenweem our home base on next year’s trip. (Is it next year yet? No? Crap.)
Located in the East Neuk of Fife, Pittenweem is a real charmer. A mishmash of houses with red pantiled and gray slate roofs and Dutch inspired crow-stepped gables dot the village surrounding the picturesque, working harbor. Viewed from a higher street above, the homes are a lovely contrast to the blue waters of the Firth beyond.
Quaint shops, galleries, and eateries line the historic village streets. During the short time we were there, we popped into Cuppa for a spot of tea and a scone and then into The Cocoa Tree Shop for a few gourmet chocolates to take with us. Yummy on both counts!
A thriving fishing village, King James V declared Pittenweem a Royal Burgh in 1541. Today the town continues to be an active marketplace. Fishing boats pull into port each morning with their catch of the day and fishermen sell their haul out of sheds at the harbor market. I would really love to be there to experience that next visit. I suspect it would feel a little bit like stepping back in time.
One of the main focal points of the village is the Pittenweem Parish Church.
This impressive medieval church was founded sometime in the 13th century, with most of the existing structure dating to the 1600’s. We did not go inside, but from the outside it was wonderfully atmospheric – especially when viewed from the far side of the kirkyard.
Like any proper Scottish town (haha), Pittenweem has its own tales of witchcraft and executions. Several witch trials took place in this village in the early 1700’s. According to the historian Lizanne Henderson, the events surrounding the case of the Pittenweem witches was “one of the most extraordinary and truly horrific outbursts of witch persecution”. Fortunately, it was the last significant event of witch hunting in Fife. Thank goodness!
Should you ever find yourself motoring along Scotland’s east coast, do make a point of stopping in Pittenweem as well as the other charming fishing villages that are nearby (Crail, St. Monans, Anstruther, and Elie are especially nice). Whether you are just there for an hour or two or plan to spend a few days, I promise you will not be disappointed!