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The Cadgers Road


The purpose of the Cadgers Road right-of-way was to shorten the time it took for fish that were caught and landed at the Earlsferry beach to be transported from there to Falkland Palace, a distance of twenty five miles or so.


By the time I arrived on the scene in Earlsferry there was no king in residence at the palace and Earlsferry caught fish were no longer being taken to Falkland. However I remember the good catches of fish that were still being landed at the Cockstail Rocks by the local fishermen in their small boats. In these days fish were plentiful in the sea and one only had to fish for a short time just off the Earlsferry beacon in order to have a good boatload of big cod and other fishes.  The favored method of fishing was sprueling; lowering a large lead weighted and unbaited pair of twin hooks to the bottom and jerking the lure up and down.


However, while fish haulers were no longer using the Cadgers Road, the right of way was very much in use by the people of Earlsferry as one of our favorite Sunday walks.


The right of way starts from the Cockstail Rocks then goes north through Earlsferry by way of Allan Place.  Allan Place is a narrow lane that goes between the High Street and Links Road. Today Allan Place is blocked off to vehicles but in my early years Allan Place was traveled in both directions by horses and carts, cars and small delivery vans. At this time all of the streets and roadways in Earlsferry were two-way and occasionally it was necessary to back up and wait your turn (After you Claude. No, after you Cecil) when someone else was already in transit in one of the narrow roadways.


From Allan Place the roadway continued on straight across the golf course to the Grange Road. Today the tracks of the Cadgers roadway have been filled in where it crosses the links  and the roadway is no longer visible. The tracks were just at the right  distance from the driving-off 4th. tee at the Ferry Road that invariably your golf ball would end up being trapped by one of the three ruts that were the Cadgers Road. The Cadgers Road was a hazard that added to the fun of the game. The Cadgers right of way was always a good talking point.  Long drivers at the 4th. would hit to clear the tracks and others less powerful would play short.


At the Grange Road an iron wicket gate allowed passage into and across the cow park of the Grange farm and a similar iron gate provided continuance of the roadway at the high end of this field. At the Grange farm the roadway went between the farms outbuildings and the grain stack yard. From there the roadway went straight north and downhill and made for a separation between the grain fields. In early springtime many nesting birds, mostly peewits but sometimes curlews could be seen in the fields.  At the bottom of the hill a wooden bridge provided passageway over the burn that continues on to flow out to the sea at the easterly end of Shell Bay.


From the wooden bridge the road continued on to a large and level grassy field known as Aerodrome Park. This field was a summer encampment place for a detachment of air force flyers. For several summers the men came and set up a regular village of tents in this field. The airplanes that they brought with them were biplanes that they took off and landed on the grass. At other times when the fly boys didn't come in the summer time the park was occupied by kilted detachments of the OTC, the Officers Training Corps, from the various colleges at Edinburgh.  Along with their rifles the young men of the corps came with their bands of bagpipers and drummers. The men were impressive when they marched with their kilts aswinging in time to the old highland tunes.  When the OTC didn't use the Aerodrome Park they put up their tents and spent the summer in a field next to the coastguard houses at Wadeslea in Elie.


Muircambus mill  

At the north end of the Aerodrome Park another iron gate let the users of the Cadgers Road pass through to the road that goes from Kinneucher railway station to Shell Bay. Usually at this gate, which was but a short distance from the waterwheel powered Muircambus Mill, we left the Cadgers Road.  It was always fun on days after rains and the level of the Cockle Mill Burn had risen to see the water from the burn powering the wheel and sacks of oatmeal being produced. Now the mill has fallen into disrepair and the roof is gone.  


We now continued on a  walk that follows the Cockle Mill Burn and continues on to meet the sea at Ruddons Point at the east end of Largo Bay. This was our place to rest awhile as we enjoyed a snack while taking in the sights of the numerous sea birds.


From Ruddons Point we then walked the length of Shell Bay. From Shell Bay if the tide was on the ebb we'd take the low road, the cliff chain walk/scramble, back to West Bay.  If the tide was on the inflow we'd make our way along the top of the cliffs to the Croupie Rock then go down on to the beach at West Bay. Our walk continued along West Bay then around The Chapel and back to the Ferry Beach to our place of beginning.


At other times, from the east end of Shell Bay, instead of returning by way of the cliffs we'd take the landward track to the north that follows the dark side of the hill of Kincraig. Our path then went by way of the Damflit, the 'Leven Trees, (at one time there were eleven trees that grew in a line along the side of this road), the wild pear tree that grew from a discarded seed from the core of an eaten pear, the old burned out and ruined mansion house between the Grange and Grangehill farms, then followed the track road across the links to Glovers Wynd and to the beach at Earlsferry House.  We then ended up walking the beach back to our starting out place. 


A note about this pear tree. My brother John had a pear tree in his garden that would produce but a very few pears. John came to the conclusion that his pear tree needed some help.  John took a tiny paint brush and an envelope and collected pollen from the wild pear tree then used that to pollinate the tree in his garden.   Bingo!


From Earlsferry there are numerous great walks. The round trip walk by way of the Cadgers was a favorite.

Another great and extended walk for the energetic is after getting to Shell bay, to cross the Cockle Mill burn, walk the length of Largo Bay then go to Upper Largo and to the top of Largo Law. The 360 degree view from the top is quite outstanding. If you go, take some water and a sandwich.