Fife News, History & Guide
Fife is bounded by two of Scotland’s main Firths, with the Tay as its northern boundary and the Forth as its southern. It has the North Sea as its eastern boundary, and before the building of the Bridges across the Tay and the Forth increased road and rail travel, its many small and not so small ports were thriving with both traders and tourists who found that ships were a fast and convenient method of travel. Fife is still known as the ‘Kingdom of Fife’, a fact which both confuses and attracts tourists, and this title of ‘Kingdom of Fife emanates from its history of being one of the ancient Pictish kingdoms. A glance through any Fife business directory, business guide, or tourist information website, will show that many Fife businesses still use the word ‘Kingdom’ in their trading titles, hoping that it will entice more tourists to travel there, savour the ancient history, and of course use their products and services. As you travel throughout the ‘Kingdom’, whether as a resident or tourist, you will notice a predominance of place names beginning with ‘pit’; this is nothing to do with the abundance of coal in Fife, but emanates from the old Pictish language, which unlike the coal has not survived the years. Fife has seen many changes in its long and proud history, and is now becoming less industrialized, and more focused on its natural attractions from golf to sailing to information technology (IT).
It still however retains a very healthy farming community producing world famous produce, not only for export, but for its own people, and for the tourist market, who continue to travel to Fife in ever increasing numbers. Fife is also home to St Andrews, famous for its university, and perhaps more so for its golf. A look at any golf guide will describe it as the ‘golf mecca’ of the world, and for the average ‘golf’ tourist who sadly has little chance of playing there, there is the consolation of many other top quality courses, easily accessible at reasonable cost. Fife was one of the Pictish kingdoms, known as Fib, and to this day is still commonly known as the Kingdom of Fife. It is a lieutenancy area, and was a county of Scotland until 1975.
It was very occasionally known by the anglification of Fifeshire in old documents and maps compiled by English cartographers and authors. A person from Fife is known as a Fifer. From 1975 to 1996 Fife was a local government region divided into three districts — Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy and North-East Fife. Since 1996 the functions of the district councils have been exercised by the unitary Fife Council. Fife is Scotland's 3rd largest local authority area with a resident population of just over 350,000. Almost a third of the population lives in the three principal towns of Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes. The historical town of St Andrews is located on the east coast of Fife. It is well known for one of the most ancient universities in Europe, and as the home of golf.