After the execution
of Charles I, Presbyterian Scotland turned against its erstwhile Puritan allies
in England and Charles II was crowned King at Scone in 1650. The first act of
the new king was to bring his Scottish Covenanting army south, to recapture the
English part of his kingdom. However, in a pattern that was to be repeated throughout
the Jacobite era, he did not listen to his military commanders and was completely
routed at the Battle of Worcester.
What followed was a series of frantic efforts
to smuggle the young king out of the clutches of Cromwell, and the certainty of
a similar fate to that which had befallen his father. For forty five days Charles
remained in the country before he was spirited off to the continent in a coal
of the ship was a James Cook, who had commissioned the building of Gyles Hopuse
here at the harbour of Pittrenweem. However, aside from its historical associations,
the building itself is of great importance, being one of those selected by the
National Trust for Scotland for renovation.
The National Trust's Sma' Houses
Scheme provides for the renovation and rescue of some of the greatest examples
of significant Scottish vernacular architecture, and this house certainly fits
the bill, rivalling those of the village of Culross with its trademark gables.
Gyles House is now a Grade A listed building, functioning as a B&B,
with superb period features inside including the original fireplaces and
timber wall panels.
Directions: from here you are following the Fife Coastal Trail all
the way along the pathway. It's well marked and sign-posted along the
way, though steep and not suitable for wheelchairs in several parts. Stop
for a snack in Pittenweem, or if you can hold-off till Anstruther, get
chips at the end of the walk.