Sunday, 27 November 2011

LEUCHARS

Earlier in this blog, I have made numerous references to communities falling foul of desperate economic times, with mines, factories, even whole industries disappearing as a result of Government policies and cuts. Sadly, Leuchars is about to become a victim of the present Government's "slash and burn" approach to the defence budget. After a desperate struggle to keep its RAF base, the town learned in July that the Typhoons which have been based there will to move to Lossiemouth, which is reckoned to have better facilities for them, and after this takes place, in 2013, the base will become an army barracks. A sad end for a base which during the Cold War was in the front line of the UK's air defences.

However, no amount of Government spending cuts can obliterate the town's heritage. The 12th century St Athernase Church has a beautiful and interesting tower and exterior with Norman arches, and inside are a number of relics, including part of a 9th century cross-slab found nearby. Leuchars used to have successive castles, but now only the mound on which they were built remains. As for the origins of the air base, this all started in 1908 when the War Office acquired land here for the purpose of testing "man-carrying kites", and this is what grew into one of the world's longest continuously operating airfields. Incredibly, the golfing mecca of St Andrews has no railway station nowadays (cuts again!) meaning that Leuchars station is the main point of arrival for golfing enthusiasts travelling by train.

Map of the area.

'RAF Typhoon FGR4 - DM/ZJ923' photo (c) 2010, Shandchem - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

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