Kinghorn Harbour beach
A haven for shorebirds
Kinghorn beach is part of the Firth of Forth Special Protection Area, meaning it contains important biodiversity, particularly birds.
The in and out of tides on beaches like Kinghorn attracts a variety of water birds, who feed on the small creatures left exposed in shallow waters, sand flats and mud flats when the tides go out.
You’ll likely hear them before you see them, hence their Scots name ‘pleep’.
Spot these distinctive black and white shore birds using their long red beaks, to root around the sand at low tides, looking for critters to eat.
The arrival of the railway in Edwardian times established Kinghorn as a popular destination for day trippers and summer holiday makers. Entertainment included an open-air stage by the beach, where Pierrots troupes would sing, dance and perform short funny plays. Paying customers could watch comfortably from a seated area in the compound whilst even those unable to pay could watch at a distance from the outside.
The RNLI has been operating a rescue station at Kinghorn since 1965. Starting with a single lifeboat in a small shed, the current two-story centre at the west end of the beach opened in 1995. The original structure is now used by the local sailing club, as a workshop for maintaining club boats. The first lifeboat to be stationed in Kinghorn can be seen here: https://www.kinghorn.org.uk/index.php?pg=first_lifeboat
Since they started operating, life guards from this station have saved 361 lives around the Forth.
Inchkeith is a volcanic island visible across the water from Kinghorn harbour beach. It is possible its name derives from Scottish Gaelic Innse Coit, meaning "wooded island” -though, like much of the country, its woods have long been felled.
In the 14th and 15th centuries if was sometimes used to quarantine sufferers of illnesses like syphilis and the plague. The lighthouse that it is now known for was constructed in the early 19th century.