North Queensferry to Dunfermline

North Queensferry to Dunfermline – Route Information

The road is narrow and has limited visibility in Lothians View, Rosyth, so please take care.

The North Queensferry to Dunfermline section of the Fife Pilgrim Way takes in three historic towns frequented by pilgrims for centuries. Therefore it’s worth exploring North Queensferry, Inverkeithing, and Scotland’s newest city of Dunfermline. You will spot fascinating historical sites and wildlife along the way.

This long-distance walking route starts on Town Pier and there are stunning views of the three iconic bridges across the Forth. These bridges, the Forth Bridge, Forth Road Bridge and Queensferry Crossing were built in three different centuries. The Forth Bridge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site  and you can learn more at the Forth Bridges.

Follow the coastline past Carlingnose Point Wildlife Reserve, which has views across the Forth and its islands. From there, the route continues through Jamestown to Inverkeithing with its medieval Hospitium and Friary. Inverkeithing Hospitium remains as the best surviving example of a friary building left in Scotland today.

There are panoramic views across the Firth of Forth to Edinburgh and the Lothians at mile 3 mark near Castlandhill Farm. The path then follows a field boundary before arriving in Rosyth. Then the route follows the A985 until Douglasbank where it cuts across farmland and woodland, before joining the B9156. Beware, the path is a little narrow at this point until it enters Dunfermline and finishes at impressive Dunfermline Abbey.

Dunfermline to Lochore Meadows is the next section of the trail. The Fife Pilgrim Way map and Guide Book are excellent companions to this long-distance route. You can purchase them in our online shop.

And if you enjoy a long read, head over to The Story of Fife Pilgrim Kingdom and learn more the ancient capital of Dunfermline and its links to Queen Margaret. You can also walk the Fife Pilgrim Way in the company of the Fife Pilgrim Pastor, visit his webpage to find out more.

North Queensferry – A Shore Start

She provided them … ships, to carry them across, both going and returning, without ever demanding any price for the passage from those who were taken over.
(Excerpt from Vita St Margaretae, c.1107)

Countless pilgrims have started their journey to St Andrews at North Queensferry. North Queensferry is named after the ‘Queen’s Ferry’, thought to have been established in the late-11th century by Queen Margaret of Scotland. A keen pilgrim, Margaret was eager to ease the way for her fellow travellers by providing safe passage over the Forth.

Once they had recovered their land legs, pilgrims could offer prayers in a chapel (now ruined) dedicated to St James, the patron saint of travellers. From here, many ventured to Inverkeithing for a well-earned rest. The town played a key role in managing pilgrim traffic in the Middle Ages. Its Hospitium – a large guest range of the Franciscan friary – provided comfortable accommodation and this important building still survives.

Margaret died in 1093 and was made a saint in 1250. It is fitting that the Queen who helped to establish pilgrimage in Fife became one of its chief draws. People were motivated to travel to Dunfermline to be near her miraculous bones.

Dunfermline – Scotland’s Newest City

The Fife Pilgrim Way winds into picturesque Pittencrieff Park. Why not take the time to discover its wooded glen, formal gardens, monument to Andrew Carnegie, café and resident peacocks. You encounter impressive Dunfermline Abbey at the exit, with its tower parapet carved to commemorate King Robert the Bruce. Step off the path to Carnegie Library and Galleries as well as shops and restaurants.

You will pass St Margaret’s RC Memorial Church which is the home of a precious first-class relic of St Margaret (a shoulder bone).

Visit Culross to Dunfermline for an alternative starting point to the Fife Pilgrim Way.