As a Fife Ambassador I would like to share some of the many interesting places that make up the wonderful Kingdom of Fife. I am standing outside Culross Palace, a late late 16th – early 17th century merchant’s house. Owned by Sir George Bruce, a successful merchant who sucessfully traded with the Low Countries and the Baltic countries. He had interests in the local coal mining and salt production industries, and is credited with sinking the world’s first coal mine to extend under the sea.
Many of the materials used in the construction of the palace were obtained during the course of Bruce’s foreign trade such as Baltic pine, Dutch red pantiles, floor tiles and glass.
Culross is well worth a visit. Stunning buildings, architecture, and the 13th century abbey, something interesting around every corner. Culross is recently famous for being the set of some of the scenes from the popular American-British television drama series Outlander, based on the historical time travel series of novels by Diana Gabaldon.
It was cold and raining when I visited Culross but that did not deter me at the end of my wanderings and exploration a well deserved, long and lazy lunch in the Biscuit Café. Great menu and well worth a visit.
The other day I visited Dysart harbour. Having not been there for many years it was great to see a vibrant busy harbour. The majority of motor boats and yachts all out and on the piers getting their overhauls and maintenance done.
The earliest records date the town of Dysart to the 13th century, but the local legend of St Serf dates the area to 500 AD. The harbour dates to 1450 with trade with the Low Countries. Exports of local salt and coal and in the 16th and 17th centuries trade expanded to the Baltic Countries. Dysart earned the nicknames of “Salt Burgh” and from the Dutch influence in Dysart’s buildings inspired by the shipowners who went there “Little Holland”. The early 19th century saw extensive improvements to the harbour . Sadly the demise of the uneconomic Lady Blanche Pit in 1929 saw the end of the coal trade from the harbour.
Originally known as the Shore House where cargo from visiting ships was stored during the building, which dates to the 17th century and in 1840 became the three-storey Harbourmaster’s House. Today, the house is home to the headquarters of the Fife Countryside and Coast Trust. It also has a great bistro with a good selection of wholesome food and hot and cold beverages. It is well worth a visit.
Last year Dysart Harbour played host as a film set to the very popular TV series Outlander. The Harbourmaster’s House and the west part of the harbour were turned into the French port of Le Havre. You will have to wait until the second series screened next year to see the results.
The Kingdom of Fife has a rich and varied maritime heritage and you don’t need to travel far in Fife to find it. Get out in your car, on your bike or on foot and explore!