Perched high above the Firth Of Forth, Buckhaven once accommodated the second largest fishing fleet in Scotland and had a quaint fishing quarter, as well as being a popular seaside resort. These features may have vanished but the town, with its wide streets and stunning views over the Forth, is currently undergoing a renaissance.
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Buckhaven was initially a thriving weaving village, where, according to local legend, the residents were descendants of a Dutch ship wrecked on the rocks, although other sources link Buckhaven’s early inhabitants to Viking raiders. Regardless of where they came from, Buckhaven’s original families were considered ‘different’ from their Levenmouth neighbours until the early 19th century, when Fife’s coal industry brought the local communities together.
In between weaving and mining, Buckhaven’s main industry was fishing. In 1831, almost 200 fishing boats sailed from the harbour every day. In 1869, the town’s fisherfolk bought a church in St Andrews, which they demolished and transported to Buckhaven, brick by brick, in their fishing boats.
Buckhaven has a free museum, which features a recreated kitchen from a miner’s cottage over 100 years ago, and a busy community centre. Across Buckhaven, huge community planting efforts over the past decade have created community orchards and woodlands, while quirky artworks and heritage interpretations emphasise the town’s distinctiveness.