Returning to the coast you find the once industrial conurbation of Buckhaven, Methil and Leven. These towns were, until recently, connected with the coal industry and shipbuilding. The most appealing now is the seaside holiday town of Leven. Situated on Largo Bay with its sandy beaches, its promenade is punctuated with putting greens, paddling pools and amusement arcades as well as two fine links golf courses.
Levenmouth Swimming Pool and Sports Centre, just over the bridge coming into town, is a modern indoor facility. Away from the beaches and ice cream vans is Letham Glen, a herbaceous-adorned park with a pet's corner and nature trail while, on the outskirts of town, is Silverburn Estate with woods and gardens, a mini-farm and a craft centre.
On Fife's eastern-most stretch of coastline is a timeless gathering of ancient fishing villages, little changed and still little discovered judging by the tranquil air of their quayside streets and alleys. Each has its own particular character and charm, recalling times when they were all thriving sea-ports trading with the Low Countries and Scandinavia. This influence can still be seen in the distinctive Dutch and Flemish architectural styles.
Skirting the shores of Largo Bay are three charming hamlets, Upper Largo, Lower Largo and Lundin Links. Upper Largo offers an interesting exhibition at Scotland's Larder. Here they show the diversity of Scottish produce along with a restaurant and shop. This quiet country village is looked over by an ancient parish church.
With its golden crescent of sand and picturesque little harbour, Lower Largo is probably the best known as the birthplace of Alexander Selkirk, the model for Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. A statue of Crusoe, looking expectantly out to sea, can be found in the village. Apparently, the man's manner was so annoying, his shipmates set him on the desert island to be rid of him. The Crusoe Hotel serves good bar meals and offers moderately priced but excellent accommodation with uninterrupted views over the Firth of Forth.
Further along the coast and following the A917, the villages of Elie and Earlsferry, at the eastern end of Largo Bay, are really one and the same place. With a mile of wide, sandy beach encircling the harbour area, this is one of Fife's most popular escapes. Local windsurfers and dinghy sailors take over the beach by the harbour and spend the weekend on the water with occasional jaunts to the Ship Inn where live entertainment and good food is laid on. Another good restaurant in town (though more formal) is the Bouquet Garni on the High Street.
Golf is popular all along this coast thanks to the
natural links land and Elie, or the Golf House Club, offers one of the best rounds
unless the wind is blowing, which it so often does. A haven for well-healed retirees,
Elie and Earlsferry has an exclusive air, procuring the reputation of 'Fife's Riviera'.
The Lady's Tower, a short walk from the harbour, was built as a bathing box for Lady
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