Adventure Leader Jill’s New Favourite: Holidays to Fife

Fife Holiday Destination

Dementia Adventure began offering holidays to Fife, Scotland last year, in 2023. A famed Scottish county known as the ‘Kingdom of Fife’, it sits right beside Scotland’s capital city and plays host to the famous seaside town of St. Andrews. This part of the world is bordered by miles of coastline, with countryside that is rugged, evocative, and beautiful.

For Adventure Leader Jill, Dementia Adventure’s holidays to Fife have a particular nostalgia. Scotland is where she used to go on holiday as a child, so she knows first-hand how much the country has to offer.

A New Holiday Destination

“It was a bit nerve-wracking running it as a new destination,” Jill admitted. After Fife was suggested as having potential as a Dementia Adventure holiday spot, she and fellow Adventure Leader Gilli made multiple visits to the area to determine its suitability. They carried out a thorough inspection of the available activities and sights, and also found the perfect accommodation.  “We knew people could enjoy holidays there and be supported,” Jill explained. “But you still have that little nervousness around the first holiday, thinking, are people going to enjoy it? Is the accommodation going to be okay?”

It was, of course. The first holiday in May 2023 set any of Jill’s lingering nerves to rest. “We could see it in all its glory with the big blue sky, and all the activities running as scheduled,” Jill reminisced. And she couldn’t sing the praises of The Rings enough!

The Holiday Cottage

The Rings cottage in Fife

The Rings is a fully-accessible, eco-friendly holiday cottage run by owner Moira and her team. Each bedroom is colour-themed according to the name of a different precious stone, along with tasteful dashes of obligatory Scottish tartan. Inside the cottage it’s warm, homey, and comfortable. Plentiful airy windows let in views of the gorgeous, fresh-looking landscape that surrounds it.

Spacious and open, everything is on one level, making it completely accessible for wheelchairs, walkers, or just tired knees. Each bedroom includes a stepless ensuite wetroom and the option for beds including accessibility equipment, if needed. Owner Moira also has her own care team, making the prearrangement of any type of additional support that is not already covered by the price of the holiday (like support with toileting and washing) into a seamless process.

The Beauty of Fife

“On the holidays we ran last year,” Jill mused, “People who’ve never been to that area were surprised. It’s such a beautiful part of the world, but no one knows about it. The country in the area is just lovely. The longest distance we travel is 35-40 minutes. Everything is quite close to the accommodation, and within that you’ve got countryside and seaside together.

St. Andrews Beach, Fife

“When I was young we used to holiday on the West coast of the Highlands, so places like Ullapool and the Cairngorm mountains. I was used to seeing lochs and wild deer and Golden Eagles. This is the first time that I’ve done the East coast. They’re both very different. In Fife it’s more about that contrast of the blue ocean with the rolling green hills, and the old stone buildings that have been around for hundreds of years. But each part of Scotland has its own unique beauty.

“Also, the people are very friendly! Everywhere we went, every activity, every place, they were so friendly and so supportive of us as a charity. They were really understanding. That’s what I found up there. We had lots of people coming up to us for a chat, asking for leaflets, cards. It was nice to see that. I’m not saying we don’t see that elsewhere, because we do, but I found it in that area particularly.”

An Eclectic Mix of Activities

Jill’s enthusiasm for the itinerary on offer is infectious.

“Fife is a part of the world with so much to offer and an eclectic mix of activities that we do. The itinerary is a bit different each time, of course, but we often do things like the whisky distillery, which is in the grounds of a 12th century abbey — so you’ve got lots of history there! It means people can enjoy learning how whisky is made but also explore the history behind the abbey.

A man eating ice cream in Anstruther, Fife
Whisky distillery

“On a beach day visit to Anstruther, you’ve got the sea view and sitting with ice creams overlooking the beach, but also the Fisheries Museum. It gives you an incredible insight into what it would have been like to grow up in one of these villages in the past! You’ve got visits to Dundee and to the V&A Museum there, which is all very modern with fantastic facilities. Then next to it you’ve got the RSS Discovery, a ship that was used for Antarctic expeditions 100 years ago.

“Back at the cottage, a guy called the Scottish Countryman, Steve, comes with his birds of prey. He runs that side-by-side with sit-down archery. You find people say they won’t be into those kinds of things, but once they give it a go they often really enjoy it. It’s a taste of something fun and different. We go inland to some activities and not only meet alpacas and walk and feed them, but also do a felting exercise where you make mini alpacas out of alpaca wool. It’s completely cruelty-free, and they make really cute souvenirs!

Feeding alpacas
RSS Discovery, Dundee, Fife

A Successful First Trip

“Last year on the very first trip, we explained to everyone that it was the first time we were running it. We said that there might be teething problems, and encouraged people to let us know what they thought. But it ended up being really relaxed. We were quite lucky with it as a first-time holiday, because there were some people in the group who had been on Dementia Adventure breaks before, and they chatted with the others about how much they’d enjoyed those. It put the newer people at ease.

The best thing was that everyone seemed to go away really feeling like they’d gotten something new out of it. It’s a destination that’s quite different from our others, so it offers something fresh and exciting, even for people who have been on holiday with us before.”

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