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There’s an excellent choice of routes in Fife that are excellent for running – and also a few places where every runner is tempted to pick up speed, such as St Andrews’ legendary West Sands. Recreate the opening scenes of Chariots of Fire with a run along this two-mile stretch of golden, hard-packed sand.
The East Lomond and West Lomond Trail is a very popular 8.3 mile run up and down Fife’s highest hills, while nearby Falkland Estate’s woodland trails are ideal for a cross-country run. Don’t go too fast, though – you’ll need time to admire the views and watch the wildlife.
With its spectacular views and well-maintained tracks, Fife Coastal Path offers a good selection of running routes. However, be careful on the rockier stretches, the high cliff tops and at high tide. If you’re looking for the challenge of a lifetime, why not run the whole route? In spring 2021, ultra-runner James Stewart ran all 117 miles of the Fife Coastal Path in a record-breaking 19 hours, 32 minutes and 8 seconds!
Fife’s spectacular coastline offers a fabulous selection of spots for wild swimming. The stunning beaches at St Andrews’ West and East Sands, Elie’s Shell Bay and the Silver Sands at Aberdour are just three of the many Fife beaches where swimmers love to take a dip! In fact, open water swimming’s so popular in Fife, over 6.5 thousand people are members of Fife Wild Swimmers’ Facebook page.
There are also two fabulous open air swimming pools on the Fife coast. Pittenweem Tidal Pool was hewn into the rocks over 130 years ago and, after years of neglect, was on the verge of ruin. Thankfully, it was restored by the local community and is once again a very popular place to swim – at all times of the year! Nearby St Monans Sea Pool, which was also recently rescued, fills with fresh sea water twice a day, providing swimmers with a safe - if chilly - place to swim on St Monans rocky foreshore.
If you prefer to splash out in fresh water, Kinghorn Loch is popular with wild swimmers, especially in the summer months, while Lochore Meadows Country Park offers open water swim sessions with safety cover during the summer months.
Stay safe when swimming in open water – for potentially life-saving tips, visit the Outdoor Swimming Society.
Fife has an excellent network of cycle routes and mountain bike trails, as well as safe places to learn how to cycle or brush up almost-forgotten cycling skills.
Cyclists are welcome to use the many paths and trails that wind their way through Dunfermline’s beautiful Pittencrieff Park. Known locally as The Den, Pittencrieff Park also has a cycling hub, where cycling training courses are sometimes held and where cyclists and local cycle clubs often meet up.
For safer, less stressful road cycling, the Sustrans National Cycle Network of traffic-free paths and quiet minor roads has several routes in and around Fife, including Route 76, which starts at Dalgety Bay and finishes at Kirkaldy Esplanade, and Route 777, which links Newburgh to Newport.
Balbirnie Park in Markinch offers mountain bikers a relatively easy, 2.5 mile circular route though woodland with the added bonus of a mysterious stone circle. For a longer, more challenging route, add on the three and a half mile route extension, which explores the beautiful Fife countryside and offers stunning views across the Firth of Forth. There are also excellent MTB tracks for all abilities in Tenstmuir Forest near Tayport, where tracks range from flat and smooth to rough and mucky!
Regardless of age, ability or skill level, everyone can cycle – or learn to cycle - at Lochore Meadows. This highly popular country park on the edge of Lochgelly has a variety of cycle paths and mountain bike trails, as well as a skills loop and, at Fife Cycle Park, a 1.6km, purpose-built circuit for cyclists, whether beginners or experts. It’s also possible to hire mountain bikes and adaptive bikes, including recumbent trikes and tandems.
And if you want to run, wild swim and cycle in the same place – Lochore Meadows offers facilities for all three!