Craigtoun Park, St Andrews

Liam, just hanging out.

One of our trips out while we were on holiday in Scotland was to Craigtoun Park, a park owned by Fife Council outside of St Andrews. Craigtoun Park used to be part of a big, posh estate which belonged to the Younger family. Fife council bought part of the estate from the Younger family and the rest of the estate ended up as a golf course. My brother had taken Hannah and Liam for a day out to Craigtoun Park a year or so ago and they’d had a fantastic time so we decided we’d take them back for the day, while the sun was shining.

We knew something was up when we got there and saw that the council was no longer collecting an entry fee to get into the park. We wandered in and sadly, found the park to be a shadow of its former self. Where there used to be boats on a pond, mini-golf, a putting green and a bouncy castle, now there was… well, nothing much, really. I mean, the boating ond is still there but no boats. Where there was once a lawn filled with picnic blankets and families eating together, there was nothing but big stretches of (admittedly well-manicured) green with not a soul to be seen for miles. It soon became clear that Craigtoun Park was a victim of Fife Council’s budget cuts.

What a damn shame. The wee ones played for a bit on the adventure playground which is still standing. They had a great time. The trampolines are still there too. The park gardens are still well maintained and the cafe is still open. The miniature railway still runs but now charges £1.50 per adult & £1 per child to ride (it was free to ride previously, when the council charged entry fee to the park). But there’s no people there any more and it all looks a bit sad.

Still, we had a good day. Hannah and Liam played all day and ran their big cousins around in circles while the adults got to chatting, walking and appreciating the sun. Except when it rained and then we all ran to the cafe for a drink and a couple of bowls of chips with curry sauce. When we got home and told one of Mum’s neighbours about it, the neighbour told us she was sure she’d read somewhere that Fife Council has plans to tart the place up again and get it back up and running. I hope so, it’d be a sad day that such a beautiful place is no longer open to the public (fee or no fee) and it’s just the sort of place you can imagine being swallowed by yet another golf course.