Hundreds of sun-seekers flocking to Fife’s beaches prompted safety fears as temperatures soared at the weekend.
Roads across north east Fife were gridlocked as people made their way to the region’s beaches, with concerns expressed about a potential coronavirus outbreak due to lack of social distancing among visitors to coastal communities.
Meanwhile, Kinghorn Lifeboat crews have urged people to be aware of the potential dangers of the sea after three call-outs in two hours on Saturday afternoon.
Several groups were spoken to after almost being cut off by the tide near Burntisland, while two adults and a young boy received first aid after the inflatable they were on was blown around 200m onto rocks at Aberdour.
Lifeboat spokesman Neil Chalmers said Fife’s beaches were far busier than normal and added: “People need to be aware of the dangerous and not get into trouble.
“We would recommend people not using inflatables at the beach as they are not designed for use on open water.
“If you are out walking on the coast, check tide times.”
North East Fife Liberal Democrat MSP Willie Rennie said crowds of people arriving in St Andrews and east neuk villages at once was a concern and advised travellers to turn back if places looked too busy.
His comment followed reports that St Andrews was a “complete nightmare” on Saturday, with the West Sands said to be mobbed and traffic queuing nose to tail for miles at either end of the town.
Similar scenes were reported in the east neuk, at Tentsmuir, where the car park had to be closed, Kingsbarns and Cupar, which was said to be gridlocked.
Mr Rennie said: “I can fully understand why people just want a nice day out by the sea, yet, as we have seen in Aberdeen, the virus is still lurking in our communities and poses a danger when we get too close to one another.
“North east Fife is open to everyone to enjoy but it won’t be if there is an outbreak because everyone comes at once.
“My advice is really simple. If a place you are visiting is too busy please turn back.
“If you think it will be too busy, don’t go.”
East Neuk independent councillor Linda Holt said that while visitors were welcome, traffic had been a problem in villages for some time and called for help for communities.
“The sheer volume of visitors this year is obviously unprecedented as most people aren’t going abroad,” she said.
“There needs to be proper plans to deal with access and parking as not enough has been done to find solutions for communities.
“In addition, people are very worried about lack of social distancing and crowds because we have the highest proportion of over 85s in Scotland so we have a lot of vulnerable people here.”