The fragmentary ruins of Ardross Castle stand above a low cliff overlooking the Firth of Forth about a mile and a half from St Monans and a little closer to Elie. Access to the ruins is provided by the Fife Coastal Path which runs right past it, and it is probably worth acknowledging immediately that the castle is primarily a feature of interest to those using the path rather than something worth making a special trip to see: though the fact that the more substantial ruins of Newark Castle also lie on this stretch of coast, two thirds of a mile north-east, does make a joint trip a more interesting prospect.
Today the castle comprises remnants of two rectangular stone structures. The more north-easterly is thought to be the base of a small fortified tower house measuring some 37ft by 29ft, and the walls rise just high enough to allow you to see the vaulting start to build in from the sides, though it has obviously long been open to the skies.
The second rectangular structure measures some 78ft by 19ft internally, and is surrounded by walls that are up to 6ft thick. The wall overlooking the sea is pierced by a series of openings. almost like an arcade, but it is difficult to give these any clear purpose. What is left of a short wall between the two rectangular structures suggest they were once connected.
It is believed that a castle was first built on this spot by Sir William Dishington, Sheriff of Fife, who had arranged the building of St Monans Church for David II in the mid 1300s. Ardross Castle remained the seat of the Dishington family until it was sold to Sir William Scott of Elie in 1607. It seems likely that during this time the Dishingtons would have improved on and extended the original castle and, though it is hard to say for sure given the state of the ruins, it seems likely that much of what is left today dates back to the 1400s or 1500s.
In the late 1600s the castle was sold again, this time to Sir William Anstruther. It is unclear how it reached its current condition, but it looks like the castle was found to be less valuable than the stone it was made of, with the result that it was used as a quarry and recycled into nearby buildings in what is now the hamlet of Ardross.
For those more interested in the fossils of animals than the fossils of castles, the foreshore below the castle is home to rock strata containing twelve different species of fossilised fish.