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|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Blebo Craigs is a small village in the heart of rural Fife, Scotland. The village contains around one hundred houses located on the south facing slope of the hill. Blebo Craigs is around five miles from the famous golfing town of St Andrews. The village has a great community and often village events are run in the village hall. Events include everything from small productions by local children, talks on a wide range of subjects and such social events as quiz nights and Burns suppers. There is also a yearly open gardens event in which many visitors come to Blebo Craigs to wander round the many gardens.
The village backs onto a wood which is free for everyone to walk in and enjoy at their leisure for all sorts activities including horse riding, walking and biking. Among other notable things in the village it has a very prominent red telephone box located at the top of the main road into the village. This phone box has become somewhat of an icon and is a frequently used landmark for directions. The area of forest between the two hamlets, known as Kemback Woods, is one of the most popular mountain biking destinations in Fife.
The village has several historical features, "Craig" is a Scots word meaning rocky promontory. Two large quarries (one for sandstone - still visible, one for roof slate - whose galleries slowly shrunk under the weight of 8 metres of overhanging rock) which can be found in the woods, from which stone was used to build many of the sandstone buildings in the area, and shipped along the high road to St Andrews during the Victorian era.
Most of the village plan is based on two industrial developments. The straight road east of the postbox was built along the north border of Blebo House estate lands, over Clatto Hill, then (almost) straight to Strathkinness to take the products of the Blebo Mills to Guardbridge, Dundee and St Andrews, bypassing the toll fees at Dairsie, and on the main Cupar to St Andrews roads. As the sandstone and slate quarries operations were expanded into a year-round activity, (rather than transient and seasonal since Medieval times) houses and schools were built for the quarry workers along the road after the 1830s.
The architectural, and other land use history, of the village is dominated by the houses of the estates of Clatto, Blebo, and Kemback, each with their own histories going back hundreds of years. All three have fine buildings and have had various well known owners. Three in particular have been the Lairds of Kemback;- an important Roman Catholic family after the Reformation, D.C Thompson of D. C. Thomson & Co. Ltd publishers of newspapers, and children's weekly comics such as The Beano, and William Low owner of the food retailer of the same name.
Connections with Dundee
Flax mill workers in Dura Den and Kemback originally from Dundee forged social connections with families still in the Angus town. The Boys Brigade, 17th Company (1919 onward), then 5th Company (from the mid-1930s onward) held camps in the small wood and fields opposite at the east end of the village until the mid-1980s. It was felt the country air was a break from the polluted coal-dust atmosphere in the streets and congested air inside the jute mills in Dundee at the time. Weekend and summer camps were set up, with the support of the village and local farmers. Occasional disasters (for example 1973) mean the boys staying in the village hall whilst the summer camp fields dried out. A large collection of camping photographs are held by 5th Company, Dundee, and a film from 1953 is held in the Scottish National Film Archive. The village telephone box was used by the boys to earn their merit badges, making their first personal call to an officer, or officer's wife in Dundee, then answering a call correctly.
There is not a lot in Blebo Craigs by the way of economy. However the village supports a locally run post office which is located in the village hall and ris open several mornings a week. Historically the village had a public house but this has closed and has been converted into a house.
- "Baxter Park and other scenes". Scottish Screen Archive. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
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