We’d been well fed again and liberally doused with Edinburgh spiced orange gin… so I fell asleep on the sofa and was sent to bed yet again. I’m useless. Next morning we were on our way, taking an early leave of our friend, glad to have seen her and grateful for her care. We were heading north, deeper into Fife. With our fingers crossed for the car, we once again took the coast road.
The distinctive shape of Bass Rock was dark against the horizon. The island often looks to be snow covered, yet the whiteness is caused by more than 150,000 gannets that call it home. We were rewarded with a sunrise over the sea, the light changing with every mile.
We stopped… well, we stopped again, having stopped several times for the sunrise… at the village of St Monan’s, once a thriving fishing and boat building community. The village is named after St Monance who died in a raid by the Danes in AD875, along with St Aidan on the Isle of May and six thousand Christians in Fife. Now it is a peaceful place of small streets and alleys. The kind of place that seems to move at its own timeless pace.
We wandered along the harbour where small boats were moored or pulled from the winter sea. We had seen a church at the far end of the village. It is thought that St Monance, or possibly his relics, was buried here and a shrine raised to the saint. King David II had been wounded at the battle of Neville’s Cross in 1346. One of the barbed arrows was removed, the other remained deep in his flesh. It is said that the arrow miraculously removed itself after the king had made a pilgrimage to the shrine. In gratitude, David built the church. It later became part of a Dominican priory.
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