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Kirkcaldy in General
Member Name: Sarah_Unity
Kirkcaldy in General
Date: 07/12/00, updated on 07/12/00 (1094 review reads)
Advantages: Good people, well situated
Disadvantages: Can be dull and dreary!
Despite what you may believe from reading some of the reviews in the Fife section, St Andrews isn’t the biggest town here. No, it’s not even the best! That honour is reserved for Kirkcaldy.
Pronounced Kirk-Coddy (NOT Kirk-Cal-Day, please!!) Kirkcaldy is the largest town in Fife (although that is very heavily disputed by anyone from Dunfermline, Glenrothes, St Andrews, Leven, Lundin Links, Aberdour, Methil…!) and is, as you may have guessed, my home. Although I was born in Glasgow (please don’t tell anyone!) I was brought here as a toddler and I consider myself to be a Fifer.
Known as the Lang Toun, for it’s long shape on the east coast of Fife and mile long High Street, Kirkcaldy was the birthplace for that king among floor coverings, Linoleum. Famous sons include the world-renowned economist Adam Smith – for whom the town’s theatre is named – and Architect Robert Adam. The actor Ewan MacGregor learned his craft in Kirkcaldy Tech (which has now been renamed Fife College for reasons best known to the Government!) and our art gallery regularly holds exhibitions of sought-after paintings by local artist Jack Vettriano. Current Chancellor Gordon Brown was also brought up and educated here (though that’s maybe not a fact that will entice many people to come up and visit!)
Every spring, the Links Market rolls into town. Situated on the Esplanade, it is the longest street fair in Europe and has been a fixture in the town for hundreds of years. It is responsible for some of my best – and worst – memories of the town! It is a fantastic time in Kirkcaldy: people are noticeably cheerier and music fills the nearby High Street. Unfortunately for me, every year I forget that I cannot cope with rides that go upside down and end up… well, I’ll leave that to your imagination, but it’s not pretty!!
Our local football team, Raith Rovers, play in the Scottish First d
ivision and have had what can only be described as a rough time of it lately. From the glory days of 1994 when they beat (nay, hammered!) Celtic on penalties to take the Coca-Cola cup and play in Europe for the first time, they are now on the brink of bankruptcy, reduced to begging people to attend home games. Their ground, Starks Park, is rarely anywhere near full and the local paper, The Fife Free Press, now swaps advertising spaces on a special page for a £100 donation to keeping the club alive. Other sports teams include the Fife Flyers; our ice hockey team who I believe are doing pretty well for themselves (though I don’t follow them myself, sorry) and Kirkcaldy Rugby Club, currently beating the big boys in the Scottish Premiership.
And yes, as much as I love Kirkcaldy, it could be described as being a little in the doldrums. Only last week our cinema (a lowly three screen affair with fungi growing on the walls of the toilets – really!) was forced to shut down after being unable to cope with the competition of a new multi-plex in nearby Dunfermline. However, the town is trying to pick itself up, with the aid of a new town centre management team and the local mascot (or so we’re told!) KirkCatty – a cat that looks an awful lot like a fox!!
Trying to find something else to do to pass the time now the cinema has gone, though, is extremely difficult. We have lots of well tended parks, but these have very little entertainment other that crazy golf, rowing and hanging around the dark bits, getting drunk (or so I’m told!) There is a good museum, although the exhibits are getting rather dusty seeing as they’ve been there for decades! You could try the pantomime, and you don’t even need to worry about who’s starring – it’s the cast of Take the High Road every year! And if all else fails you could do what I do when I’m able – take a trip to the train station and get on the next tra
in to Edinburgh!
Like any town it has problems with crime, and it is impossible to go anywhere at night without catching sight of drunk teenagers – and adults, come to that – but there is usually a noticeable police presence in the town and if do you happen to call the police out they will be with you fairly quickly and, as a rule, will be friendly and polite. The High Street is also packed to bursting with traffic wardens looking out for those parked on the pedestrian zone, so watch out! Our hospital, the Victoria, is large and well equipped, and – if you must stay in hospital – it’s not a bad place to be. The food, though…! Ugh! And don’t think you can avoid it by not eating, because what you don’t eat for your dinner you’ll get for your tea!
Kirkcaldy does suffer from many problems – including some crime and deprivation - but you will find all of these problems repeated over and over again in every town and city in the UK. Overall, Kirkcaldy is a good place to live, with friendly people and a variety of shops and businesses and if you are considering a trip as a tourist I recommend you do as there are many places in the town that are worth a visit (and, hey, you might even meet me!) And if you do decide to ignore my recommendations and go to St Andrews instead, then why not spare an afternoon to travel down and pay us a visit – you may well be glad you did.
If you want to find out more about the town, here are a couple of good sites that you could visit (none of which, I should state, have anything to do with me):
www.fife.gov.uk/kirkcaldy/ has a good historical background on the town, but is short and doesn’t carry much detail about the town today,
www.fifefreepress.co.uk/ is the site of our local paper, The Fife Free Press, and carries a good selection of local news for those of you who can’t get your hands on the real thing.
madasafish.com/~kirkcaldy/ has a good page of links to sites related to Kirkcaldy, including Raith Rovers, Fife Flyers and also Fife Tourist Board.