The colourful history of a Fife harbour once home to the ships of James V is told in a new book.
It was from Kirkcaldy Harbour in 1536 that the King of Scotland set sail with a fleet of seven ships to claim his bride and fulfil a term of the Auld Alliance by marrying a French princess.
Kirkcaldy Harbour: An Illustrated History recounts this tale and many others of the port, which also had a thriving whaling industry in the early 19th Century.
Author Carol McNeill, who has penned a series of history books including Kirkcaldy Potteries, said the harbour, which remains in use, has a fascinating past.
One famous tale is that of the alarm caused in 1782 when John Paul Jones sailed three of his American warships towards Kirkcaldy.
The Rev John Shirra, of what is now Linktown Church, prayed that the wind would change and carry them away from the Forth.
Carol said: “An unexpected and delightful thing was that I was handed a memoir which was a first-hand eye witness account of events in the 1700s and 1800s.
“They remembered seeing these John Paul Jones ships coming towards the shore and the minister praying to God that the wind would change.
“The ships were so close to the shore that they could see they were Dutch-built and that the people on them were wearing red shirts.
“The minister prayed the wind would change and lo and behold it did.”
Carol, a retired journalist who lives in Kirkcaldy, spent around a year delving into the history of Kirkcaldy Harbour, poring over books from the 1700s and 1800s in Kirkcaldy Galleries’ reference section.
She said: “It was one of the most interesting books I have ever been able to research.
“I was constantly surprised about what a historic place it was and kept coming across wee nuggets of information.”
The book goes from the early days of the harbour through its use by a fleet of whaling ships, including the Lord Gambier, in the 1800s, to the present day, used by grain ships for Carr’s Hutchisons Mill.
Carol said: “If it wasn’t for Carr’s, the harbour would be closed and cemented over, probably with more houses over it.
“It’s just fortunate they chose Kirkcaldy.
“People who grew up with the harbour have their own memories of it, like swimming in the basin. They said the water was horrible but they went in anyway!”
Kirkcaldy Harbour: An Illustrated History, published by Amberley, is available in the Kirkcaldy branch of Waterstones, Kirkcaldy Galleries and on Amazon.