Here at The Larachmhor Tavern, we love any excuse to share a story or two! Many visitors to the village, retracing the steps of ancestors, come to the pub and discover that someone at the bar is a distant family member! Others are drawn into the lively tales of the fishermens adventures at sea! Our bar staff are locals from every generation over the age of 18 - and we're always eager to share our local knowledge! Of course, it would take quite a few rounds of drinks at the bar to tell all our stories, but for now, here's a mini-guide that you can read in less time than it takes to drink a pint.....
A Swift History Of Pittenweem
The Ancient Picts And A Very Old Cave....
Pittenweem - a name derived from a combination of Pictish and Scots Gaelic languages - means 'the place of the caves'. This is probably a reference to St Fillans Cave on Cove Wynd. Historians believe that St Fillan used this cave as a base for converting the mysterious Pictish people into Christians. Eventually, Pittenweem Priory - linked the monastery on the Isle of May - was built over the cave. It was only rediscovered when a horse ploughing in the priory's garden accidentally dug it open and fell in! Infamously, in the 17th and 18th centuries, the cave was used as a prison during the witch hunts of that era. Thankfully, these days the cave is a happier place to be - it can now be used as a tiny chapel and it's celebrated as a unique piece of Pittenweem's long and intriguing history.
From A Quiet Wee Fishing Village...
The village grew from a small fishing community at West Shore, where the sheltered beaches allowed fisherman to draw their boats out of the water. Eventually, the first breakwater was built, extending out from the finger-like rocky skerries which jutt from the shoreline into the Firth of Forth. This allowed fisherman to anchor their boats, rather than haul them to shore, which in turn created opportunities for bigger boats and the extention of the harbour which has become a thriving fishing community.
To A Busy, Vibrant Harbour...
The bustling fishmarket at Midshore - opposite The Larachmhor Tavern - is now central to Pittenweem's commerical fishing activities. Visitors to the village now often watch with interest as a colourful array of large and small fishing boats come and go from sea, land their catches outside the market and jostle for position in the harbour. Eager tourists, with the patience and determination to acquire a little local knowledge, can be seen by the harbour at just the right time to secure some delicious fresh fish for dinner - straight off one of the boats!
The Art Of Fishing
& The Pittenweem Arts Festival....
For many years, the harbour and fish market became the base for a gala celebrating the history and art of fishing. Locals remember the 'Fisher Lass' ceremony where a local girl was given the title each year, ceilidhs in the market, fishing boat trips for locals and visitors and opportunities for everyone to learn more about this interesting and vital "beating heart" of life in Pittenweem. Due to a variety of factors, including increased regulations, this event was eventually brought to an end.
However, it was from these roots that a world class arts festival sprang forth. The Pittenweem Arts Festival has become one of the most significant events in the Pittenweem calender. Each year, for a week in summer, thousands of artists and visitors descend on the village to showcase and view an eclectic mix of art. The work of both local and visiting artists - often inspired by the light and charm of our coastline - is presented in galleries which have been temporarily created in homes, shops and properties throughout the village. The Larachmhor Tavern, which also showcases the work of local artists during the event, is one of the "must visit" venues. As you might imagine, we enjoy a bustling, carnival atmosphere throughout the festival.
Fishing & Art, Heritage & Vision,
Community & Tourism - A Perfect Balance...
Much like the ebb and flow of the tides, life in Pittenweem is always changing and at the same time there's a constant rhythm that gives our village a timeless charm.
Visitors are often pleased to discover a village at ease with mixing exciting, modern culture with a beautifully preserved history. They discover talented artists and hard working fisherman, contemporary cafes and traditional pubs, the ancient architecture of the high street and wynds, the enchanting sea views from the harbour and coastal paths. Perhaps most importantly, they discover a village which eagerly welcomes visitors and newcomers, while remaining anchored in a strong sense of community.
If you haven't already visited this special place, we suggest you make us your next holiday destination! It's the perfect location for getting away from it all.
A Pint-Sized Guide To The East Neuk
The East Neuk Of Fife sometimes seems like a hidden treasure, tucked into a quiet little corner of Scotland's east coast, just an hour from Edinburgh. Pittenweem is the perfect base for exploring the whole area - and there's so much to enjoy! Here are a few of our highlights...
If you love the great outdoors, take the opportunity to enjoy the breath-taking scenery of the Fife Coastal Path, which runs through all of the East Neuk's main villages including Elie, St Monans, Pitteenweem, Anstruther and onwards to Crail and St Andrews. Along the way you'll discover rocky shores and award winning beaches. These walks are amazing at all times of the year, just check the weather and plan your wardrobe, take a picnic or a flask of tea...and remember to stop in at The Larachs for a well deserved drink!
While you're here, if you love art, check out some of the galleries and gift shops - there's plenty of hand-made, local crafts, so you'll always be able to take home a truly unique token of your visit. Try Funky Scottish, a studio, gallery and shop here in Pittenweem. Also, check the diary for occasional showcases by local artists at their "open house" events at East Neuk Open Studios and every art lover should make a point of visiting The Pittenweem Arts Festival.
If you're along in Elie, pay a visit to its huge beach and our sister pub, the award-winning Station Buffet on the high street - another great local bar, steeped in history!
Don't miss a chance to sample some of our incredible local produce, especially if you're doing any self-catering. The Ardross Farm Shop is a great place to start. Also, you could make a point of being here for the Crail Food Festival.
While you'll always have a great time here in the East Neuk - even on a day trip - we highly recommend getting away to the coast for a weekend break or longer visit. Take a look at The East Fife Letting Company to find the perfect place to stay...then make The Larachmhor Tavern your first stop!
...who knows, like many visitors to the area you might find yourself wanting to move here permanently!