There are some places which will always be a little bit more special than others, maybe for this reason you will always view them through rose coloured glasses, or maybe they just are that perfect little oasis of calm to head for whenever life allows. I suspect some people don’t understand why we go back to the same place every year, but when we drive over the Forth I can feel my shoulders relax and then when we enter the town, the sigh of relief, we’re back…..
Each morning we took a walk around Roome Bay to start the day, everyone you see along the way will say good morning, or even stop to chat. It’s a friendly place, but then the same could be said of much of the area.
If the tide is out and the weather is fine then the best way to spend the morning is the same now as when I was a child, crab fishing in the ‘paddling pool’. This is a tidal pool with plenty of shore crabs to occupy a morning or an afternoon.
A line and a net and the competition will begin – who can catch the most! Once caught the crabs are let loose into another little pool a little further back to ensure they are only caught/counted once. The excitement of seeing if you can ‘land them’ before they decide that they don’t want to hang on to the bait bag and would rather stay hidden beneath the rocks. This time there was a really cheeky crab which had the most fun teasing the boys, it came out from under the rock shelf, carrying a limpet, right in front of them. He walked out towards another rock, then back and kept scuttling about in the pool, showing off his prize limpet and making it clear that they would not be catching him, he already had his limpet!
Crail is one of those places which it would be easy to overlook, there is definitely more to see if you spend time to look more closely. Walking down to Roome Bay you will see the Doocot, a building made to house pigeons which were bred for both meat and eggs. The doocot was built in the mid 16th century and is one of the last few of its kind in Scotland, just bear in mind if you go in to have a look it triggers a recording of pigeons, a more recent addition!!
There are some classic ‘postcard’ views of the village, mainly of the harbour. Not to detract from how pretty it is, after all, we had some of our wedding photos taken down there! But there are many other areas worthy of exploration.
A walk through Denburn Woods (I would Not recommend playing on the rope swing, given how my boy came a cropper as a result of a fall from there!), will take you through to the back of the churchyard.
Here I will admit a soft spot for the church, it was where my husband and I were married and where our son was christened. It is a beautiful place with a rich history, there are better sites to visit for a full insight into it, I can only provide the broad brushstrokes of the place, to attempt to do anything more would do it an injustice.
There is also the Dead House at the back of the church, which was pretty much as described, back in the day, but I suspect it now is more of a storage area for lawn mowers and the like.
The original use of the Dead House was as a place to securely store the dead until they had decomposed enough that they were of no use to the medical students and therefore there was no temptation for the grave diggers to steal them.
Bodies would be kept in the Dead House for six weeks in the summer months, but twelve in the winter, just to make sure when laid to rest there was no chance of them being disturb again.
Outside the church gates you will find the Blue Stane, a large stone with a dip in the top, the dip was made by the thumb of the Devil when he threw it over from the Isle of May, trying to hit the Church. We were always told to sit in the dip of the stone and make a wish.
But, it is not the only stone to take note of, there is also the Mermaid’s Cradle, only accessible at low tide, after a bit of rock hopping, if you know where to head.
Another stone to sit in to make a wish, although it does have a bit of seaweed now growing on it and the birds also seem to like it…
Move further down the way, just past the harbour and you will come across fossils that not even I could mistake, two tree stumps, right next to the tracks of a giant centipede!
Back on land and the picturesque village is still one of my favourite places to spend time, it would take a dark soul to not fall in love with it…
There are plenty other places to discover, but I won’t tell you all, you have to discover your own special places… you just need to spend time and look….