Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Pittenweem Arts Festival

We had a very enjoyable day out last week.  Our destination was Pittenweem, a fishing village in the East Neuk, a region of Fife which is directly across the Forth estuary from North Berwick. There is a delightful collection of fishing villages along that stretch of coastline and Pittenweem is one of them.  My father and his family would go there for their summer holidays when he was a young boy, forsaking soggy Glasgow for the sunnier climes of Scotland's east coast.  I joke not. East Lothian records the longest hours of sunshine in Scotland and Fife's fishing villages are only a hop, skip and a jump across the water.  This is how I imagine a postcard of Pittenweem in the 1920s might have looked!  I can't imagine that the view will have changed at all.
As the crow flies from here it is not really very far across the water but as there is no ferry to whisk us speedily from North Berwick to our destination, which was the Pittenweem Arts Festival, we had to drive round to the village, via the Forth Road Bridge.  It is quite a hike.

Pittenweem still supports a modest fleet fishing for shellfish in the cold North Sea.  In 1994 Fife Council demolished the old fishmarket building on the harbour side and built a brand new one which deals now in auctioning off lobster, crabs and surf clams.
The Festival (http://www.pittenweemartsfestival.co.uk/about_general.php) has been taking place for a number of years now, attracting a huge number of talented painters, jewellers, ceramicists, weavers, print makers and so on.  The venues are dotted around Pittenweem, many of them centred around the harbour.  The downstairs rooms of cottages had been completely emptied out to give wall space and room for the numerous artists to exhibit.  Outhouses, garages, conservatories, the Harbour Master's office, the bakery in the High Street, the great outdoors and all sorts of other nooks and crannies were also exhibition spaces, adding a really interesting dimension to the festival.  
This was the corner of a lovely little summerhouse in the garden of the artist.  She also had the most beautiful view across the Forth to East Lothian.  It was a spectacular home which also caught the eye of the architect Gaucho!
The village sweet shop!
An artists's work in progress.  She was in fact distracted by the wonderful sunshine outside and was basking outside by the front door.
There is a little strip of white sand along Pittenweem's west shore.  The sun was shining and there were lots of people wandering along the pathway between the cottages and the sea wall, enjoying the artwork on display.  Children played on the sand, building castles, and the sea was sapphire blue.  It was an idyllic, very British scene.
 An outdoor jewellery stall.
I think with the combination of roof tiles, white wash walls, Mediterranean blue sea and lovely hot sunshine we could almost be forgiven for thinking we were back in Spain!  Thank goodness we weren't!
In this photograph you can just see North Berwick Law across the water.  So near yet so far. We had a two hour journey home but it was a very good day trip to the Kingdom of Fife.  We will return and explore some of the other fishing villages of the East Neuk.  Apart from anything else there are one or two highly acclaimed fish and chip shops in that part of the world.  I might even manage to persuade Mr Gaucho to partake!
This photograph is intended as a PS to my post of  4 June.


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