the Home of Robinson Crusoe
Set on Largo Bay on the north side of the Firth of Forth, Lower Largo or Seatoun of Largo is probably most renowned for Robinson Crusoe.
At one time it was a busy fishing port in the days when herring was the main stocks of the North Sea and the port also sailed ferries to Newhaven, just outside Edinburgh.
With a fishing industry there were opportunities for net manufacturers and the building which housed the net factory still stands today but has now been turned into holiday accommodation within the grounds of Cardy House.
Many of the historic buildings still remain and a walk from the Harbour along the Main Street will give evidence to this and in 1978 the older parts of Lower Largo were given conservation status.
At the Harbour there is the Crusoe Hotel which at one time served as a warehouse for the busy fishing port but is now a busy hotel with excellent facilities for an overnight stay or for enjoying a meal or drink. Not more than 50 yards away is the charming Railway Inn serving all types of local beers.
In 1856 the coastal railway line was built and opened up the village to the many tourists who arrived for the pleasures of the sandy beaches and the many vistas that can viewed from the beach. Although the last train rolled out in 1966 and some of the rail track became part of the Coastal Pathway, the railway will never be forgotten with the rail viaduct dominating the harbour area crossing a onetime gorge with the Keilburn flowing below into Largo Bay.
What brings many visitors to Lower Largo is Robinson Crusoe, a fable character, based on local boy Alexander Selkirk born in the village in 1676 and so well written by Daniel Defoe. A statue depicts Robinson Crusoe searching for, perhaps, Man Friday or a ship on the horizon, and this can be seen above one of the many historic buildings along the Main Street.
Just off the Main Street is the Serpentine which was at one time a busy thoroughfare to Upper Largo and also a funeral walk to the cemetery in Upper Largo. Now it is a picturesque woodlands and, time permitting, it is well worth taking a walk through to Upper Largo.
Having a generally well protected bay from the elements of the weather, is makes it ideal for sailing and the Largo Bay Sailing Club can be seen most weekends having regattas throughout the summer months.
At one time, like many other villages, it was well served by the local baker, grocer and butcher but, alas, these are now all gone although the village is well served by the Store at the Harbour and sells wonderful ice cream throughout the summer. Walking along the Main Street you will come across a shop with the name of Very Crafty; ideally you will find a selection of gifts and also houses a fine coffee shop.
Places of worship are served by two churches, St Davidís Parish Church, with a history dating back to the 17th century although the Church does not date to that period. The Church is open to the public most days throughout the summer and visitors are welcome to the Service of Worship every Sunday at 11.30 am. The other church is the Baptist Church and visitors are welcome every Sunday at 11.00 am. Both churches are found on the Main Street.
Today, Lower Largo has grown as a village and with housing developments, mainly after the Second World War, it now has a population of just over 2000 and has become a commuter area with many houses now holiday homes.
William M. Kidd
17 November 2010