The “Sea Wall Steps” Kirkcaldy – Ink

Kirkcaldy, where I was born and brought up, is know as the “Lang Toon” (long town) because it is long and thin, running along the north shores of the Firth of Forth. In 1922 the whole length of this esplanade had a wall built to keep stormy seas at bay. The building work was designed to relieve chronic unemployment. At the east end, next to the harbour, are these huge concrete steps which allow access to the beach. I have an old photograph showing hundreds of people sitting on these steps listening to a concert party.

I have fond memories of this structure. In 1957 my father arranged for me to join the local swimming club in order to lean to swim I was only 10 years old. My first night there is as clear as a bell. I was asked, by Bill Henderson, to lie on my stomach on a wooden bench where he taught me the breast stroke. We then went over to the steps and down to the beach. I lay flat in the water and Bill supported my chin in his hand. After a while he withdrew his hand and I was off. I was swimming after 15 minutes.

This picture was started after a recent visit to my home town. The steps are all cracked and broken and everything looks so different. Did I imagine all of this past stuff?