The harbours of Kinghorn and Pettycur are separated by a headland. Kinghorn Harbour is flanked by a curved sandy beach backed by mostly white buildings of varying heights along with the 13th-century Parish Church with its distinctive bell tower. The church has a “Sailors’ Aisle” with a model of the first Unicorn frigate. Set above a rocky shore between Kinghorn and Kirkcaldy is Seafield Tower, built in the 16th century and believed to have been five stories high.
Pettycur used to operate as a ferry port and at one time was the main crossing point for traffic heading north from Edinburgh. The “Edinburgh Almanack” from 1828 lists the sailing times: four times a day from Newhaven to Pettycur, and three times a day the other way. The accompanying rules and regulations stipulate that “passengers having carriages, horses, cattle or goods...must have them down to the Piers three hours before high water”. To the north of Pettycur is a hill called Witch Hill, where presumed witches were executed during the days of witch-hunting.
In March 1286, Scottish history changed course after Alexander III met his death while riding his horse above the cliffs at Kinghorn. It is thought the horse stumbled, throwing Alexander over the cliffs. There is a monument to him on the Burntisland Road commemorating this event. Alexander’s death gave rise to turbulent times, with six regents being appointed to rule Scotland, and the Wars of Independence which were caused by the disputed succession to the throne.
Map of the area.