Sunday, 25 October 2009

An Autumn Sunday

Just like any other day, Sunday's can be sunny, wet, windy cold and mild or many combinations and sometimes they include rainbows for good measure.
Last Sunday wasn't bad so having spied an attractive looking gallery with coffee shop attached, in the Art magazine, Pat and I decided to cross the Forth and head to West Fife. We took the turning off to Rosyth and headed along the Fife coastal route looking for Culross. Luckily, it's not hard to find and we didn't need to get the map out. No, we don't own a gps (and I don't own a TV and yes I know it's strange.)
I hadn't heard of Culross before so I wasn't prepared for what I found. But more of that later! The first thing we spotted was the RED LION pub. Now that was an coincidence because only the night before a guest had told us that he had just watched an interesting programme in which every RED LION pub in the UK was visited and it resulted in interesting TV. The plot seemed a bit thin to me but when I saw the pub I was immediately curious about whether or not it had a visit from the camera crew and had they met interesting local characters? Little did I think that this might be an omen of what was to come.
The first thing we did was to walk along the coastal path and look over to the Central Belt. What a sight Grangemouth is. I have seen bits of it from the M9 and even ran a 10k through it once but I hadn't appreciated the extent of the oil refinery. It's huge and makes a stark contrast with the Forth and the surrounding hills. We walked on avoiding a few wobbly Sunday morning cyclists and discovered some leafy woods and a track which lead to the gates of Longannet power station in Fife which appears at number 17 on a list of the least efficient and the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide in Europe. Neither of us knew it was there but we should have guessed when we saw the huge chimney on the horizon.
By the time we got back to Culross we needed a coffee but before we found the famous gallery and coffee shop we went into a National Trust building and began to suspect there was more to Culross than met the eye.
Biscuit Cafe at Culross Pottery and Gallery were worth the wait. The gallery both upstairs and downstairs is packed with attractive pottery and original pieces and colourful, tempting paintings. If I am able to start a cafe rating scale on this blog, then the Biscuit cafe will be challenging the leaders. Everything has been thought though to give a pleasant experience as you sit and sip an excellent latte and droole over wonderful home made fruit scones. Of course you might want to try your own selection. I loved the way they had used a limited amount of space to conjure up a great atmosphere with big windows and plenty of foilage to keep your interest. The staff were really pleasant too. Pat, who is an expert on cafes all over the Lothians and Fife was impressed, so we will go for **** and a half gold stars out of five.
Re-energised, we explored the rest of Culross and what we found was a wonderful village with narrow lanes and pebble, cobbled roads. The houses are sixteenth and seventeenth century and are very attractive. Culross Abbey is at the top of a steep road and looks like it could be from the Borders. It is very interesting to walk around, as is the Church which was once part of the Abbey. You get a real sense of history as you go in and see the names of people who donated Merks (Scottish silver coins worth 13s 4d) to the local populaton in the middle eighteenth century. We were really surprised to find a corner of the church had been given over to contemplation with Tibetan prayer flags swaying above the scene. On the way down the road we came across a garden open day. We walked through the wooden gates and were immediately aware of the delightful smell of the flowers. The garden is wonderfully laid out and has grand views down to the Forth. The man who had built it up for the last twenty years told us he doesn't go in for garden competitons, he had enough of those over the last twenty-six years when he was a PE teacher. He has managed to get an incredible number of flowering plants to grow in late October.
So, the RED LION was a good omen and what we found in Culross was an attractve and interesting place to visit and have a coffee on an Autumn Sunday


  1. One of those happy coincidences happened at the week end when Lynne and Nigel came to stay. Nigel knew all about Culross. He told me that the houses there were preserved by the National Trust. They were the first project of the NT which has gone on from strength to strength since then.


  2. i would like the 3 of us to visit this cafe when i'm next back, i got a beautiful image of it in my mind after your description x

  3. You'd better believe it and the cakes are out of this world.