ithin the United Kingdom is the Kingdom of Scotland, and within Scotland is the Kingdom of Fife. This ancient Kingdom lies at the heart of Scottish History and cherishes its wealth of castles, cathedrals, gardens and places of interest. Fortunately for us, there is a particularly fine timeshare resort there for us to cherish, too. But before we get to that, let’s take a look at its location so you’ll know why you want to go there.
Fife is one of Scotland’s most fascinating places. Filled with history, every year the area attracts tourists who travel from all over the world. It has a spectacular and scenic coastline, dotted with little fishing villages, that runs from Largo (the “home” of Robinson Crusoe) to St. Andrews. In between there are castles and historic monuments, harbours and beaches, antique and craft shops, and of course, the best links golf courses in the world. White-washed houses, pantiled roofs, crow-stepped gables, fishing boats, lobster creels stacked on weathered quaysides, swooping gulls… they all come together here in a blend that is truly unique.
Throughout Fife, which is in east central Scotland jutting out into the North sea, you will find the atmosphere friendly and relaxing. And there is plenty to see and do, from the delightful fishing villages of the East Neuk (pronounced Nyook, it means ‘corner’) to St. Andrews — the golfing center of the world — and from the rolling hills of the Howe to the historic capital of Dunfermline.
The famous coastal strip of East Neuk stretches from Lundin Links in the West to Boarhills in the East and is traditionally a center for fishing and farming. The main coastal locations are Lundin Links, Lower Largo, Elie and Earlsferry and fishing villages with names like St. Monans, Pittenweem, Anstruther and Crail. Kingsbarns and Boarhills lie on the Northeast coast. Inland villages include Upper Largo, Colinsburgh, Kilconquhar and Arncroach.
The most famous place in the Kingdom of Fife is St. Andrews, ackowledged as the birthplace of the game of golf, and still the mecca toward which all true golfers turn. The town itself is small, with some 15,000 residents, contained within a very few square miles. St. Andrews is also an important ecclesiastic city and the home of the oldest university in Scotland– but golf is what made it world-famous and what draws the most visitors. There is a great deal more to this town than golf, though, and you might want to take advantage of the opportunity to explore it.
Says Rebecca Breakell, of Visit Scotland, “Indeed, St Andrews was the backdrop to some of the most horrific scenes of the Reformation – other Protestant reformers were executed or burnt at the stake, including Patrick Hamilton, whose face is said to appear in the stonework of St Salvator’s College. Figures from this period are commemorated by the Martyrs’ Monument on the Scores and by markings on the street at Deans Court, St Salvator’s, Market Street and the Castle.
“If the town’s history does not make your flesh creep, there are a host of ghouls who might. St Andrews is said to have more ghosts moving through its alleys and buildings than anywhere else in Britain!”
Less than a dozen miles from coastal St. Andrews (and slightly inland) is the parish of Kilconquhar (pronounced “Kinnuchar”; the written name of the village in the 1600’s was “Kinneuchar”), which bears the distinction of being where witches in the East Neuk of Fife were executed– by drowning in the local loch.
The centerpiece of the village is Kilconquhar Parish Church, a historic church building still in regular use that has an unusually tall tower, and is an exact, but larger scale, copy of Cockpen and Carrington Parish Church in Midlothian.
The remains of Old Kilconquhar Church, consecrated in 1243, lie in the churchyard. The new church was planned in 1818 and opened in 1821. It contains several fine stained glass windows.
“Kilconquhar is an impresssive essay in the revived Gothic of the early nineteenth century, rising with pleasing effect above the nearby loch and village. Its kirkyard (church yard) contains an arcade of its medieval predecessor,” says the Tour Scotland blog
“Kilconquhar parish has contrasts of a different kind. Kilconquhar itself is one of the finest examples of an unspoiled village of the older form now remaining in Fife, its wide main street leading up to the parish kirk at its west end with very pleasant effect The houses, though simple, have integrity and continuity while buildings like the schoolhouse and the inn obtain their due prominence, though still subordinate to the kirk.”
The building around which the parish grew is Kilconquhar Castle (ancestral home of Robert the Bruce), now called Kilconquhar Estate and Country Club. More a mansion than a castle, with sports facilities and manicured lawns, it started life as a 16th century tower house and has been considerably extended. All the original windows were enlarged in the 19th century, as it took on its role as a comfortable mansion.
This magnificent property is a good place to be based for an exploration of this part of lowland Scotland. Dual affiliated with RCI (Gold Crown) and Interval International (Premier), it deserves its elevated status according to everyone who has ever reported on staying there.
Timeshare accommodation is available in one-bedroom to four-bedroom villas, castle suites and historic cottages. All of the timeshare units are fully equipped with televisions, linen, kitchen equipment including dishwasher, washing machine, tumble dryer, etc.
For dining onsite, the resort’s White Cockade Bistro is open all through the year and you will be welcome to enjoy the delights of the traditional Scottish cooking. Food is served from 8.00 am in the morning for breakfast through to lunch with last orders at 9.00 pm.
Not only is there a wide variety of luxurious units to choose from at Kilconquhar Castle, but the staff is friendly and effecient and there are more things to do than you can shake a claymore at. One of the favorites seems to be horseback riding, available from the stables right on the estate, along the lovely trails and down to the coast.
This is also reported to be a very child friendly place, so do not hesitate to bring the whole family (a Kid’s Club is available for the younger guests). AND it is excellently located for all kinds of side trips.
Or you can brush up on your stroke at the driving range or putting greens, play a game of tennis on the court set in the heart of the estate, work out in the fitness center, or visit the games hall, where badminton, basketball and other games can be enjoyed.
If you are a birder, be sure to bring lots of film and take a tour to the Isle of May, really a great day out for all the family. This island “is home to a wide variety of seabirds, including puffins, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and shags. The cliffs are spectacular and teeming with seabirds. Inland, nesting puffins and eider ducks are abundant. Although uninhabited since the 18th century, evidence of habitation by man dates back over 2,000 years, and visitors can explore the remains of a 12th century monastery. The first permanently manned lighthouse in Scotland was built here in 1636.
For luxury, it can’t be beat. For history, it can’t be beat. For castles, birding, golfing, hiking, fishing, exploring, beach bumming, shopping for local crafts, picture taking and a multitude of other reasons– it can’t be beat.
When King James VI described Fife as a “fringe of gold”, he wasn’t kidding!
Some Web sites to explore for more information:
- http://www.kilconquharcastle.co.uk/ — The resort’s website
- http://kilconquhar.org/about-kilconquhar/ –About Kilconquhar
- http://www.visitfife.com/ –The official tourism website for the Kingdom of Fife
- http://www.standrews.org.uk/ –The official St. Andrews links guide
- http://www.fatbirder.com/links_geo/europe/scotland_fife.html –Birding in Fife
- http://www.visitscotland — The official Scotland guide
- http://www.travelscotland.co.uk/ –Another good Scotland guide
- http://www.secretbunker.co.uk/ –The secret bunker where Britain’s central government and military commanders would have run the country had nuclear war broken out.
“On the Road” is a compilation of destination ideas, resort reviews, videos and more gathered from a variety of sources that includes our readers.
The purpose of “On the Road” is to showcase some of the magnificent places in the world to visit, to give you an idea for someplace to go that you might previously not have thought of or known about. In most cases, but not all, we have provided a brief overview of a timeshare resort in the spotlighted area. Most of those resorts are either RCI Gold Crown or I.I. Premier quality. However, these resorts are not usually theonly timeshare resorts in the area; be sure to check in your exchange catalog for a complete listing of available resorts. Check it out— enjoy yourself, go somewhere new this year!
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