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Recreating something very special with return trips to the coast

No matter how many years pass, the compulsion when at the seaside to grab a plastic spade and dig the biggest hole imaginable is something that never fades.

This was something I discovered in the East Neuk of Fife five years ago, when my girlfriend (now my wife) Jenna, my mum and dad, my sister Jacqueline and her young family and I began what has become a family tradition of a week's seaside holiday in the Kingdom.

It's a place very familiar to Jacqueline and I from our own childhood and, going even further back, from my Mum's.

From Kirkcaldy, her family holidays were often spent in the village of Crail, while ours were spent at our Gran and Grandad's home in Newport-on-Tay.

From there, we would drive to the West Sands of St Andrews where, just last summer, my young nieces, Ebba and Isla, and I had a Chariots of Fire-inspired slow-motion race on the beach.

It was also at St Andrews that I used to play pitch-and-putt with my Granddad, something I eventually managed to persuade Jenna to have a go at last year.

And no matter the era, no seaside holiday is complete without a healthy (or, in this case, unhealthy) smattering of ice-cream and fish & chips. While some things haven't changed, others have moved with the times.

In 1986, when I was knee-high to a grasshopper, my family and I went to see RRS Discovery - looking rather worse for wear - shortly after its arrival in Dundee.

Today, the renovated ship forms the centrepiece of a very modern visitor exhibition.

In many ways, Discovery is the perfect metaphor for a 'Mod-stalgia' holiday, which sees people take a trip down memory lane while enjoying modern-day comforts.

During recent breaks in Elie, we have rented a house by the beach, complete with dishwasher, coffee machine, satellite television - even, on one occasion, an outdoor hot tub. But it's the familiarity of the surroundings - and the company - that makes it a time to cherish.

There's something very special about a family holiday, and it becomes even more special when that holiday is steeped in memories from your own childhood.

Tom Maxwell is press officer for VisitScotland

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Families

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