The West Sands – St Andrews

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This spell of dry sunny weather has been refreshing. What better way to get rid of the winter cobwebs than a walk along the West Sands at St Andrews.

This uninterrupted 2 mile (3km) sandy low gradient beach with a 30m wide dune zone extends from the Swilcan Burn to the Out Head, (the mouth of the Eden estuary). It skirts and protects the world famous St Andrews Links golf courses.

The West Sands has for centuries been an area of recreation for locals and visitors. Animals grazed the Links, Salmon stake-net fishing provided a living for fishermen. In the days of sail many a cargo vessel run aground on the West Sand, embayed in St Andrews Bay during storms. A great place for bathing, horse riding, dog walking, and the classic British “Day out at the beach”. Motorcar and motorcycle races took place on the sands in the early 20th century, even aircraft operated sight-seeing trips from the sands from time to time. In 1981 the sands served as the set for the opening scene in the movie Chariots of Fire. During the 2012 Olympics Torch relay this was reenacted and the sands were also featured in the 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony. On many a windy day windsurfers, stunt kites, kite surfers, kite boarders and sand yachts can be seen out at the north end of the sands. Sand yachting was a popular activity in the 1970s on the sands and today a local outdoor activity company Blown Away continues this along with offering many other adventure experiences on land and sea.

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The Links and the West Sands are an internationally important landscape and diverse ecosystem. They are part of the Firth of Tay – Eden Estuary Special Area of Conservation and Marine Protected Area. There are many protected species within the area.

Of historical note: In 1864, following a severe storm a record-breaking specimen of a Bootlace Worm (Lineus longissimus), was washed ashore on the West Sands measuring over 55 m (180 ft) long.

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The effects of climate change, coastal erosion, flooding, and coastal storm surges are a constant threat to the area. In 2010 severe damage to the dunes, flooding of the golf courses and adjacent lands and erosion of the old municipal landfill at the Out Head occurred. A dune stabilisation programme is in operation with areas fenced off to public access whist the Marram Grass has time to stabilise the dunes.

There are many wonderful beaches along the “golden fringe” of the Kingdom of Fife. The West Sands is a must visit.

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Exploring the Kingdom of Fife

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With winter almost over and Spring on the way. What better time than to start exploring the Kingdom of Fife. I am a Fifer born and bred and fortunate to live in my ancestors’ home town, St Andrews. My maritime career spanning decades has taken me all over the world, but home  to me is St Andrews and Fife. There is plenty to discover and do in Fife and I never stop learning interesting facts and stories of the unique and diverse history of the Kingdom and of its people. As a Fife Ambassador I am going share with you through this blog my explorations, discoveries, stories and facts of the Kingdom.

 

Keys Bar, St Andrews, Charity Event

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On Sunday, St Valentine’s Day, the Keys Bar in St Andrews held a charity fancy dress party and raffle to raise funds for Motor Neurone Disease Scotland a charity close to Keys Bar’s owners family hearts. Carol Gordon the landlady and mother of Claire the present owner died of the disease.

What a wonderful night! There was a great atmosphere in the pub and many turned out for the event wearing amazing fancy dress costumes and the staff were kept very busy. We were entertained by local singer Christina Mowatt who sang a selection of music throughout the evening. Fantastic comparing by Andrew (Donny Rover) and Chris Nicoll (Claire the owner’s husband) and a music quiz from local Harry McCabe.

Most of all was the generosity of the locals, people and businesses of St Andrews, parts of Fife and parts of Scotland who donated amazing prizes for the raffle.

Over £2,250 was raised on the night. I am looking forward to next year’s event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fife Ambassador

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Fife Council has a network of ambassadors in place. The Fife Ambassadors are inspirational people who represent Fife’s many faces, share a passion for the Kingdom and can promote the area to both national and international audiences as a destination of choice to live, work, visit and invest.

You can imagine how proud and honoured I am to have been invited and to become a Fife Ambassador. The Kingdom Of Fife is a unique and diverse region of Scotland. Go out and explore this amazing Kingdom, there is so much to discover.

http://www.welcometofife.com/fife-stories/story-ambassador