ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Travel and Places»
  • Visiting North America»
  • United States»
  • Missouri

What goes on around the harbour of St Monans in Fife

Updated on September 28, 2010

Pittenweem and St Monans

Fishing from the harbour of St Monans with the boatshed in the background
Fishing from the harbour of St Monans with the boatshed in the background
Pittenweem
Pittenweem
First Catch at Pittenweem
First Catch at Pittenweem
3 years old getting a free boat ride on the fishing boat with free fish after
3 years old getting a free boat ride on the fishing boat with free fish after
The famous well photographed St Monans church where you get access to the old ruin further round the water
The famous well photographed St Monans church where you get access to the old ruin further round the water
Nets waiting to be repaired while visitors admire the old harbour
Nets waiting to be repaired while visitors admire the old harbour

St Monans Harbour

St Monans may not be the most well known place in Fife, on the East Coast of the Uk, however, to me; it will always be like a second home, which is rather strange really, because I live in the town of Glasgow.

My Father taught me to fish from the harbour of St Monance while the men made the boats at the beginning of the pier. Of course like everything else, boat building has now gone, and even the bank is now a tea room. During the summer, and long weekends, we fished from the pier. I also learned to gut the fish, clean them and even fry them for dinner.

Long days were spent watching the fishing boats sail in and out of the harbour while hooking our live worms on to the hook. Another relaxing part of our day, would start with the digging of the sand at the harbour when the tide was out. We would dig on the little circles until we found the culprit just below squirming in the sand and certainly not waiting for me or my Father to dig it up and stick it on a hook. Of course there was a setback - the smell of sand and the muck left from the sea. It was strange that after all these years I would quite welcome this smell and the memories of future visits as a Mother and Wife living in the "big City of Glasgow".

The best thing I learned from St Monans, was the Fife accent. When we were travelling from Glasgow to Fife we would cross the Kincardine Bridge. But it was from this moment, that I would change from my Glasgow accent to a Fife accent usually saying to my Father

“Goin, Dad , stop....(lilt going up and down) and get ‘is’ a cone at the shop ay?”

My Father would look at my Mother and she at him and a wee smile would appear as they heard the chink of my penny usually hitting the bars of the bridge instead of falling into the water, where ,had it reached that water, would surely have brought me a nice wee boyfriend.

As I threw my penny from the bridge I would always wish for a boyfriend. Everyone knew, that if you threw a penny from the bridge to the water, your wish would come true. It all started when I was very young, and I never did find out who’s idea it was to tell me that in the first place. I suspect it was a plan to distract me from asking “Are we there yet? I certainly carried this ritual on until I was 17 and my Father decided to get up and die on us. At this time I had to learn to drive and then drive my Mother over that fast becoming lonely bridge for both of us, where I could no longer throw my penny over the bridge to make a wish, nor did I want to.

Pittenweem, one of the most photographed Villages in the East Coast is about 5 miles away from St Monans and is better known because of the famous “Pittenweem fish”. The fish and chip shop at the Main part of the Street in Pittenweem claims to have the best fish and chips in that part of the country. However, Anstruther appears to have a certificate to most definitely be the best in the country. The fish and chip shop up the road from this, in Anstruther however, has much smaller lines to wait in, and definitely sells even better fish and chips in my humble opinion. I suspect it’s all about the batter anyway and not the fish.

Strangely enough we have a little white van which goes around Glasgow selling freshly caught fish from Pittenweem which I only discovered a couple of months ago. When I saw it I immediately stopped my car and went and bought some fish. The first thing I asked the man selling the fish was “Are the Guthrie’s still in St Monans?” He replied “Oh Aye, that’s ma cousins noo. Ken the old yins are awaw noo, (dead) but their younger ins are still there” and then he gave me all the gossip. It was so lovely just to hear the accent again as I hadn’t heard it for such a long time.

My first experience of witnessing what “They” thought and what “We” thought, came when I was walking along the rocks. We would walk to the church, where the sea would break its temper onto the wall around the graveyard. Here you had to decide whether it was safe to walk around the side towards the old ruins, in order that the tide wouldn’t cut you off. Often I would just go and lie up in the old ruins listening to the roaring sea just below me. With a bit of luck the sun would be out cutting the chill from the sea. Many days of my younger life I lay here on the grass or some days I would carry my guitar on my back and sit and play Carole King to the sun and the sea.

Heather was a year younger than me and at 16 we had met in the local shop when her voice had made me stop and listen.

“Whar did ye get your skirt?” Her twang reaching a high pitch at the end made me turn around. We both started laughing when we recognised we were wearing the same skirt. Only difference was, hers had been taken up about three inches shorter than mine. It was when we said together “Wallis” that we had bonded. It had been a perfect moment for me, because until then I just walked around carrying my Fathers huge radio and listening to radio Caroline. I just walked round and round the village during the day and sometimes at night too. In the morning I would walk down to the front to the shop. Here you could meet the old men of the village, who would meet at the harbour smoking their pipes and looking out to sea. If you asked them what the day would be like they would answer in such a strong accent that even one who was used to the Fife accents could hardly understand them. I would only pick up on the odd word, such as braw (nice). The men all wore bunnets pulled down over their eyes and their weather beaten faces matched their jackets and brown trousers. They never did get the weather wrong.

I had been going to Pittenweem since I was a wee baby and when I reached the age of ten we were promoted to St Monans. We started off in a wee tiny caravan (a two berth), and one day my Father said we were getting a new caravan. We walked around and he pointed to nicer two berths showing me what it would look like. Ten past three, in drove an articulated lorry, with a gigantic mobile home on the back. I watched in awe as this thing got nearer and nearer while still waiting for our small new van to arrive. Suddenly the driver jumped out his cab and shouted to me “Walker”. I nearly collapsed shouting “Yes” in reply. Next thing I know he’s backing this gigantic caravan into our wee tiny space where the old caravan had stood. I think that must have been such a special day for me, and may have been the reason I associated St Monans with such goodness. Then began our frequent holidays and weekends at the caravan site in St Monans.

Of course St Monans had not always been spelt this way either. In the beginning it was called St Monance, and then they decided to change it back to the original spelling which must have been a long long time before.

So after meeting Heather and a few of the other girls of the village, we would walk along to the old ruins and look for fossils. And it was here as we walked along the rocks that I started admiring the pools of water. I commented on their wonderful assortment of crabs, fossils, and strange little circles of life which squirted and moved around trying to give itself life. It was as I looked in one of these pools, that I remarked to my new Fife friend that “The little pools were lovely”.

She screeched “Ah day believe ye, did you jist say they were bonny?”

I looked back at her with the same puzzled look as she had just given me, and replied in her language “Aye” with the tilt going up at the end.

She then shocked me even further by saying “I just didny think that a body fae the big City of Glesgy would like that kinda thing”.

I was actually speechless. I just didn’t realise that they had made all these assumptions about people from the City as they called us. I guess having no shops, didn’t help. There was no dancing apart from the local village hall, with their quick step and waltz. The two pubs didn’t have a big turnover of people. I guess for them Glasgow must be the big New York for us. Perhaps we didn’t realise just how lucky we were to live in a growing vibrant City like Glasgow.

A few weeks after the pond incident we were all out one night in Leven. Then the toilets were public, in the street, and we were waiting to get in to a stall. Everyone was putting on their lippy with no mirror of course, when all of a sudden three “Leven girls” came in from the street. We were trapped and couldn’t leave and these three were scary girls. All of a sudden June whispers to me “Talk in your Glesgy accent”. I knew she thought if they heard my accent they would think I was more scary than them. I was totally petrified as they were really tough. I didn’t know where I got the guts, but suddenly I heard this tough voice exiting from my lips with a few expletives thrown in and then I stared them right in the eye. I struck my hands in my pockets because I was shaking with fear, but I put on a wee swagger and waited with the toughies while my St Monans friends used the toilets. I could almost feel the fear coming from behind those doors. I came out laughing eventually because I was the “hero” of the day and they were all so pleased to have “a tough friend from Glesgay”. They told me going home the Leven girls would never “touch” the St Monans girls again, because of me. I was never so glad to get off that bus back to the safety of my beautiful St Monans. Everybody talked about this for months to come, but inside I hoped that we would not be going back to Leven for a little while.

St Andrews is only about 30 minutes away, and this is where all the golfers play. I don’t know why we didn’t go there, I’m sure the students and the golfers would have been such better company than the Leven girls, but then hindsight is a great thing.

St Monans Directions

A markerSt Monans Fife Scotland -
St Monance, Fife
get directions

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Jane Forrest profile image
      Author

      Janie Walker 7 years ago from Glasgow Scotland UK

      I received this from Marie Lezar through Linkedin but she didn't know how to comment on here and asked me to put this comment in for her.

      up popped your picture and a lovely story about St Monans. It was a lovely surprise because in the 70's I had a close friend Maggie Mackinlay from Sandyhills, Glasgow who had a friend who owned a Hotel on the shore there and she visited faithjfully every month. She used to rave about how wonderful it was and as she was Glasgow born and bred with a high flying City job this always intrigued me. Coming from Wishaw a suburb of Glasgow in my estimation and with a big City ambition, I started work in Glasgow age 15 and was now Managing Richard Shops in Sauchiehall Street, I could not figure it out. Jan and I spent a weekend there once around this time the mid 70's and it was amazing ... but not for me then ( I was the coolest bird in Glasgow ) lol! I love your take on it! I have to say when we next frequented The East Coast of Fife was when we had the Hotels in Cowdenbeith it was magical... the difference between Mayfair in London and Brixton. Anyway I loved your story! It was very entertaining. Marie Lezar

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)