'I often see porpoises when I walk my dog in the morning,' said our waiter. 'They come chasing the mackerel, it's quite something to see.'
We were on our way to a whisky weekend in Scotland's Speyside, and the Bay Hotel in Kinghorn, overlooking the Firth of Forth, was the perfect place to break the journey. We couldn't see porpoises from the balcony of our room when we checked in, but we did have one of the most spectacular views you could wish for (top photo). The wide waters of the Firth spread out before us, and on the far shore was a strip of horizon where Leith and Edinburgh stood, with low hills beyond.
On this shore a man was walking his dog beside the beach, and as the tide receded dozens upon dozens of waders appeared and seemed to flow with the water over the wet sand as they foraged for food. After several hours in the car, it was calming to sit and be soothed by the sheer vastness of the water and the sky, and the serenity of the scene.
Later, as darkness descended, the far shore turned from an anonymous strip of land to a rainbow necklace of twinkling lights.
'Those are the lights of Leith,' the waiter explained as we dined in the hotel restaurant, cleverly designed with large picture windows giving as many tables as possible a view of the water. Plump scallops shared a plate with Stornoway black pudding, a mouth-watering welcome back to Scottish food. East coast haddock tempted us too, as here along the Fife coast you can get some of the finest fish and chips in Britain.
The only disappointment was that we didn't have longer to enjoy the hotel's facilities, thanks to a late arrival and a dawn departure. Well, we did have an appointment with a whisky distillery to get to. Otherwise we'd have been tempted by the indoor pool, or perhaps a session in the fitness centre which also had dazzling views of the Firth of Forth. For families there was also a play area and a huge room filled with arcade games and kids who were loving them.
Instead we enjoyed relaxing in our room, bright and modern with lots of light pine furniture, with a lounge and children's bed downstairs and a double bed upstairs from where of course there were views across that bay. And in the morning we knew our waiter would be out walking his dog, watching for porpoises, and we would be wishing we could join him.
Burntisland Rd, Kinghorn, Fife KY3 9YE, Scotland
Tel: 01592 892222