Exploring St Andrews with CCW

A day trip around the East Neuk with CCW

I’m writing this whilst sitting across from Lis, so it’s totally okay that my introduction to this post is going to read in a similar manner to her post because I have cleared it with her first. Lis and I have a lot in common, which is probably why she’s one of the few people I can stand to spend my precious free time with, and why she’s always at the receiving end of my rants or cat photos. One of the many things we have in common, aside from our similar taste in style and our love of cute fluffy animals, is that we both love those clear, crisp days that a Scottish autumn does so well.

A box of six doughnuts decorated with chocolate icing and the words CCW Blogger Road Trip
Young woman standing beside a brick wall looking out to see at Lady's Tower, Elie

It was on one of these beautifully fresh days that I dragged myself out of bed before Sunday Brunch had even started and ventured over to the West End of Glasgow to meet Lis, Lindsey, Ellis and Gillian for a day out with CCW, which had been lovingly organised by Roisin. This was the second CCW Blogger Road Trip of 2018, but I had missed the earlier spring expedition back when my dad was unwell. I’d been reliably informed that it would be worth braving the cold for, so I was excited to be able to make it along to this one.

That being said, that Sunday turned out to be one of the coldest days of the year so far, which I soon realised when I left the house without a proper jacket. It’s something I’m prone to doing, and I often joke about just how terrible I am at dressing for the weather. You would think, living in Scotland, that I would own a decent winter jacket – but you would be wrong. When the Beast from the East saw my little town buried under multiple feet of snow, I was braving the Beast in my leather jacket or my cute-but-not-quite-warm-enough yellow raincoat. It’s no wonder, really, that I often find myself with a chill.

It’s maybe a side effect of growing older, or an afterthought from said Beast from the East, that I’ve recently been thinking about investing in slightly more practical pieces for those few days that I do actually leave the house. I enjoy getting out and going for a good walk, but my wardrobe is not equipped for doing so between the months of October and April. Or, with the exception of this year, during the Scottish summer, either. It might be down to the fact that I’m subconsciously preparing myself well ahead of time for the day I eventually have a dog, and have to brave the elements no matter what the weather.

A selfie of two smiling women wearing knitted bobble hats and sunglasses
A group of young women walking over a coastal path towards Elie, Scotland
The sun shining on the sea at Lady's Tower, Elie
Young woman standing beside the Scottish sea in brown leather parka and pink woollen hat

CCW to the Rescue

Practical, however, does not mean that my clothes can’t also be pretty – which is where CCW excel. Having started out life as an outdoors store with a very purist approach, the family led business has since grown to become the go-to place to get the perfect blend of fashionable pieces that will see you through whatever the great outdoors has to throw at you. They stock outdoor classics like Barbour and Craghopper alongside more fashion-focused outdoor brands including Fjallraven, RAINS and Joules. 

I’d never been to any of their three stores before the CCW Blogger Road Trip, but as soon as I stepped into their Byres Road store I was taken aback by just how nice the clothes were. In the past, I’d always shunned outdoor clothes as being baggy waterproofs and clumpy boots, but the brands on offer at CCW have proven me wrong. We were kindly kitted out with a selection of pieces to see us through our day trip to the East coast.

The thing that really blew me away with the range on offer at CCW was the attention to detail, ensuring that function and form could exist hand in hand no matter what the item. Take, for example, the hats from Barts. Not only do they come in a range of fantastic colours (hello, beautiful peach knit), but they have the added bonus of a soft fleece lining to stop the woven fabric irritating your hairline like other lower quality hats can. 

Alongside the hats, we were kitted out with a good pair of walking shoes from Columbia, a necessity for keeping your feet warm and dry whilst wandering the beautiful beaches in the East Neuk. The real star of the show, however, was the Didriksons coat. I would happily leave the house wrapped in my duvet if I could, but I feel like that’s not the most practical way to dress. This coat, though, solves my issue in the perfect way. It’s a beautiful tan colour with a classic faux leather finish, offering the perfect combination of warmth and style. It’s cosy enough to feel like wearing a duvet without being too puffy, and the adjustable hood and sleeves do a great job at keeping you protected from the elements. 

The Lady's Tower at Elie in Fife, an impressive stone tower with open archway entrance.

It was the perfect day to put them to the test, with a cold breeze in the air, but blinding sunshine ensuring it stayed bright enough for those all important photos. After demolishing some delicious doughnuts we piled into the Ecotour Scotland minibus and made our way east. Ecotour Scotland offers a brilliant way to see the sights of Scotland, with their wheelchair accessible minibus running on biodiesel produced in Glasgow to minimise their carbon footprint. Luke made a great guide for the day, giving us the best insight into the sights we saw along the way.

Our first stop was one of my favourite seaside spots, Elie. Elie is a small town a stones throw from St Andrews, and is home to the best fish and chips I’ve ever had in my life. On this visit, however, we weren’t there for the food, but instead to pay a visit to the Lady’s Tower. Built as a changing room for Lady Janet Anstruther, this circular stone tower is perfectly placed to offer, quite frankly, stunning views across the Forth and out onto the North Sea. There is something hypnotic about the Scottish seaside, particularly on crisp days like we had, and I could have quite happily spent my whole day watching the waves from the rocky outcrop. 

The town of St Andrew's as seen from the beach on a clear day

Before long, it was time to clamber back over the dunes towards the minibus so we could head on to our main destination – the popular seaside town of St Andrews. Home to great ice cream, an Aladdin’s cave of a CCW store and more dogs than you can shake a stick at. I quite happily assigned myself the role of chief dog spotter for the day, and probably drove everyone up the wall with my incessant cries of “THERE’S A DOG”.

A wooden bridge leading over the dunes to the sea at St Andrews beach

Cute pups aside, St Andrews is a brilliant place to visit for locals and tourists alike. It’s a charming university town, with stunning beaches, an array of independent shops and plenty of good food to stick your teeth into. After wandering on the beach and exploring the ruins of the cathedral we had a quick pit stop at Rogue, a beautifully decorated restaurant with a built-in gin distillery.

I, much to my shame, was far too hungover to even think about sampling the gin on this occasion, but I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about their bespoke distilling process before tucking into some samples of the canapés available on their upcoming festive menu. After sampling their beautiful dry-aged steak skewers, mini fish and chips and a crisp tomato tart I knew that I’d have to make a mental note to return for more on my next visit to the seaside town.

After a bite to eat we headed back to the minibus to pay a visit to CCW’s St Andrews store. The shop has a deceivingly small storefront on Market Street, stretching back for some distance and housing all of their best brands. It’s a one-stop shop for ensuring you’re suited and booted for a blustery day on the beach, and I even found myself eyeing up some pretty snazzy looking slippers which are definitely going on my Christmas list. Again I caught myself prematurely planning my days when I have a dog and have made a mental note of the perfect pair of Barbour boots for winter walks.

CCW Clothing's Store Front in St Andrews

One of the new additions to CCW’s brand lineup is the brand spanking new Finnieston. Founded by Ross Geddes of CCW, the luxury lifestyle brand boasts a range of premium quality products from local suppliers and manufacturers. Think super soft cashmere scarves, classic cut jackets and beautiful knits to keep you warm all winter. 

Two hands holding matching ice cream cones with two scoops and a wafer

Finally, we rounded off our day in St Andrews in the only way feasible – with a trip to Janetta’s. For those not familiar with the St Andrews legend, Janetta’s is the ice cream parlour of dreams, with every flavour imaginable under the sun on offer from their typically queued out shop front. My favourite combination has to be cookie dough and coconut, but I can often be swayed in favour of the seasonal specials. Whatever the weather, a trip to Janetta’s is a must if you’re visiting St Andrews.

After putting some of CCW’s range to the test on one of the coldest days of the year, I know that I’ll be ready for whatever this winter has to throw my way. If Beast from the East 2: 2 Cold 2 Function does make an appearance, as it most probably will, I know that I’ll be able to make it to the shops without falling on my arse or catching my death in a leather jacket. Instead, I’ll be able to take my duvet wherever I go in the form of that cosy Didriksons jacket, which has secured its place as an essential in my winter wardrobe.

You can check out CCW’s range of clothing and accessories on their website

Young woman looking out to sea whilst sitting on a brick wall