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Fife Area Guide

Neuk of Fife Image courtesy of Flickr user Moyan_Brenn

Fife is a council area in the south of Scotland, sometimes called the Kingdom of Fife because it had been a major Pictish kingdom. It is a peninsula, sitting between the Firth of Forth (with Edinburgh to the south) and the Firth of Tay (with Dundee to the north).

It is dotted with little villages, and it has four main towns. Glenrothes is the administrative centre, and it has won several awards for its landscaping and the quality of its parks, most notably the Beautiful Scotland and Britain in Bloom awards. Kirkcaldy is also known as Lang Toun because its traditional high street was 0.9 miles long, an amazing length in 16th and 17th century Scotland. It was also the birthplace of economist Adam Smith. Dunfermline has a large number of service sector employers, including BSKYB, Amazon and HBOS. St Andrews is home of both the University of St Andrews and of golf, making it attractive to both students and tourists.

Demographics

According to the 2011 Census, there were about 367,300 people in Fife. Just over 1% of the population was foreign born, and 8% were aged over 75. The employment rate is 77.2%, just above the employment rate for all of Scotland, which was 77%.

The major built-up areas do not deviate much from this. According to the 2001 Census, Dunfermline had 48,200 residents, 1.7% of whom were foreign born and almost 7% of whom were aged 75 or older. Kirkcaldy had 49,500, 1% of whom were foreign born and 8.5% of whom were 75 or older. Glenrothes had 38,900 residents, 1% of whom were foreign born and 5% of whom were 75 or older.

The home of the University of St Andrews, St Andrews is quite different to the rest of Fife. It had 14,200 residents, 11% of whom were foreign born and 10.5% of whom were aged 75 and over.

Education

Fife's schools regularly perform above the Scottish average. Education Scotland found that 90% of the schools in Fife were rated good, very good or excellent in their HMIe inspections. This is compared to the national average of 76%.

Fife has 141 primary schools, of which there are many great options. Dalgety Bay Primary School in Dunfermline, for instance, was praised for its "effective actions to raise pupils' attainment in English language and mathematics" and its "welcoming ethos and staff's commitment to pupils' care and welfare".

Of the 19 secondary schools, several have been given some of the best inspection reviews in all of Scotland. Bell Baxter High School has been praised for "[its] strong partnerships within and beyond the school to enrich young people's learning and achievement and meet their needs", "[the] young people's wider achievements" and "the school's positive climate". Balwearie High School also earned top marks, with the inspection noting "the strong culture of inclusion, including the quality of support for the most vulnerable pupils and those with complex support needs", "[the] confident, enthusiastic and well behaved pupils" and "the priority given to improving the achievement of all pupils".

Fife has several opportunities for higher education as well. The University of St Andrews is the oldest university in Scotland. Adam Smith, Carnegie and Elmwood Colleges provide vocational education and training in areas including land management, renewable energies, 3D design and many more.

Transport

Perhaps the most important road in Fife, the M90 runs to Perth and near Edinburgh in Scotland. The A92 connects Dunfermline with Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire, and the A91 goes from St Andrews to Bannockburn in Stirling. Most road traffic into and out of the area goes over one of three bridges, the Forth Road Bridge, the Kincardine Bridge and the Tay Road Bridge. There are more than 2700 bus stops and stations in Fife, connecting even the farthest corners with the towns and cities.

Fife has 19 train stations scattered throughout the area, all managed by ScotRail. Most of these stations are along the Edinburgh to Aberdeen Line and the Glasgow to Aberdeen Line, but the Fife Circle line also runs through the council area. The Fife Circle line runs from Edinburgh through the south of Fife and along the coastline to the Forth of Firth, looping through the middle of Fife before returning to Edinburgh.

There is also a push by the council to encourage more cycling. It has established a Cycle to Work Scheme, and there is also council-run cycle training programmes.

Amenities and Shopping

Fife is not the most metropolitan place in the world, but it still offers a large number of events, festivals and things to do.

Theatres and festivals

StAnza is Scotland's only festival dedicated solely to poetry. The Fife Festival of Music celebrates the community musicians that play in the streets and give small towns and villages their character.

In St Andrews, the Byre Theatre hosts touring companies' productions in its state-of-the-art facilities, and the Adam Smith Theatre in Kirkcaldy is the home of the Fife Opera in addition to showing comedies, dramas, dance productions and classic cinema screenings.

Sport

St Andrews is the spiritual home of golf, as it is where the game was invented and where the rules of the game are still overseen. As such, the town has some of the best and most famous links on the planet.

In football, the Raith Rovers and Dunfermline Athletic play in the Scottish League's First Division. Rugby union is represented with eight teams: University of St Andrews RFC, Dunfermline RFC, Fife Southern RFC, Glenrothes RFC, Howe of Fife RFC, Kirkcaldy RFC, Madras RFC and Waid Academy RFC. There is only one rugby league team, though - the Fife Lions.

Finally, the Fife Flyers are the oldest ice hockey team in the UK.

There are also many opportunities for engaging in water sports, hiking, cycling and other outdoor pursuits.

Shopping

The Fife Craft Association hosts events regularly throughout the year and also puts on a market in Glenrothes's Rothes Halls every Saturday. There, they showcase the talents of local artists and crafters.

Dunfermline is home to the Kingsgate shopping centre, which has more than 90 shops and food stalls. St Andrews is packed with independent shops like I. J. Mellis, a premium British cheese shop with only six outlets in the UK. Shopping in Kirkcaldy focuses on two main areas: the high street and the Mercat Shopping Centre. Glenrothes boasts the Kingdom Centre, the largest indoor shopping centre in Fife.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact editor@primelocation.com

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.