Sunday, 20 November 2011

EARLSFERRY AND ELIE

Skinny dipping is not a modern phenomenon, if the activities of Lady Jane Anstruther are anything to go by. The 18th-century beauty used to go bathing in the altogether in the bay at Elie, but in order to preserve her modesty she used to send a man round the streets ringing a bell to warn the townsfolk not to take a peek while she was going for her dip. She had a summerhouse built on Elie Ness at Ruby Bay, known as The Lady's Tower, which is still there, but is now a ruin. Also on the Ness is a white lighthouse built in 1908. Two other notable coastal features here are Chapel Ness with the remains of a chapel dating from 1093 and Kincraig Head, a volcanic plug with high basalt cliffs which attract a variety of butterflies and birdlife.

The old market town and ferry port of Earlsferry and the former fishing village of Elie are to all intents and purposes one place now. Earlsferry gets its name from the ferry which used to operate between here and North Berwick in medieval times, the "Earl" part of the name probably referring to the Earl of Fife. Elie's harbour dates back to 1582, but fishing has now given way to watersports. Of course, no resort in these parts would be complete without its golf course, and the course here has a particularly long history. The Golf House Club at Elie was established in 1875, but golf is believed to have been played here a far back as the 15th century. Elie Parish Church on the High Street was built in 1639, and the tower was added in 1726.

Map of the area.

'Elie from Earlsferry beach' photo (c) 2007, Andy Hawkins - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

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