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CrailVirtual Viewpoint of Crail Harbour
Crail became a Royal Burgh in 1310 when it was granted the unusual right to hold a Sunday market by King Robert the Bruce. This emphasises the town's historic importance as a centre for fishing and trade.
The town features a picturesque harbour and numerous buildings that display the architectural style of the area - crow step gables, pan tiles and harl.
A local delicacy of the area was the 'capon' - a sun-dried or smoked haddock. This particular food is reflected in the shape of the weather vane atop the town's 16th century tolbooth. At the tolbooth is a small visitor information centre and a noticeboard displaying a colourful map of the area.
Near the tolbooth lies the town's mercat cross (a modern replica), with the familiar rampant Unicorn at it's top.
John Knox preached at the parish church in Crail's Marketgate in 1559. The church itself dates from the 12th century, but has many later additions. Outside the entrance to the church lies the 'Devils Blue Stane', a large rock which is said to have been hurled by the Devil when the church was being constructed. The rock bears a rounded indentation known as 'the Devil's thumbprint'. Crail villagers on their way to battle are said to have sharpened their weapons on the 'thumbprint' to guarantee their victory. In the grounds of the church is an unusual building known as a 'mort house' - a heavily fortified building for the storage of corpses. It was built in times when graverobbing was common - the deceased would be stored in the mort house in an effort to thwart the ghoulish trade of the 'body snatchers'.
Crail boasts a well-known pottery, just a short walk from the harbour, and there is also a short stretch of sandy beach which is popular with sunbathers, swimmers and canoeists alike. Fresh shellfish, including lobster and crab is on sale at the harbour, and there are several nearby restaurants and hotels that offer seafood dishes using local produce.
The Isle of May, off the Fife coast has one of Scotland's oldest lighthouses, built in 1816 by the grandfather of writer Robert Louis Stevenson.