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Visitor's guide to Leuchars in Fife with info on what see and do. Includes information on the Earlshall Castle, Tentsmuir Forest and link to the Leuchars Airshow.

Four miles northwest of St Andrews is Leuchars, best known as an RAF base, but in the centre of the village is one of the oldest churches in Scotland. The 12th-century chancel and apse, incorporated into the parish church, are exceptional examples of Norman architecture.

Leuchars Community Website

Local Sights & Activities for Leuchars

Sightseeing

Earlshall Castle

One mile east of Leuchars is the privately owned Earlshall Castle built in 1546 by Sir William Bruce, ancestor of the present owners. This is a fine example of a 16th-century Scottish castle, very strongly built with 5-ft thick walls, battlements and gun loops. The castle is set among beautiful gardens with unusual topiary chessmen, but is not open to the general public.

Tentsmuir Forest

Just beyond Leuchars is the B945 turning for Tentsmuir Forest, on the northeastern tip of Fife. There is an excellent broad sandy beach, the perfect spot for a picnic, as well as a Nature Reserve where you can see wildfowl waders and a large colony of seals sunning themselves on the sands. In 1957, on a site near Morton Farm on the Tentsmuir peninsula, evidence was found of a settlement visited seasonally by hunter-gatherers about 8,000 years ago. This remarkable site is one of the earliest human habitations in Scotland. Finds from the site are in the Dundee Museum and the Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Leuchars Airshow

Scotland's International Airshow, RAF Leuchars, Fife

Magazine - Features

FANTASTIC FLYING IN FIFE

Pic: The Red Arrows
Scotland's International Airshow is held at RAF Leuchars in Fife later this month so Lorraine Wakefield looks forward to all the supersonic action.

Magnificent men in their flying machines will be filling the skies above Fife and thrilling crowds of thousands when the RAF Leuchars Airshow takes off on 14 September 2002.

The annual airshow at the Fife base, near St Andrews, attracts top military planes from airforces all over the world and a special attraction this year is sure to be the new Eurofighter, a new generation fighter created with the expertise of four nations.

It is just one small highlight in a packed programme of flying displays that runs from morning till night at the airshow and with lots of other attractions also on offer Leuchars Airshow promises to be a great family day out whether you are an aviation enthusiast or not.

The Eurofighter has been developed to be the most cost effective and operationally capable combat aircraft available on the international market and the plane's appearance at the airshow is appropriate as eventually it will replace the Tornado F3 craft currently stationed there.

The most popular and instantly recognisable aircraft taking part will no doubt be the RAF's own Red Arrows, hailed as the world's premier aerobatic team. Their top speed demonstrations of precision flying in amazing formations will enthral spectators and they have their very own tribute to the Queen's Golden Jubilee with a new manoeuvre called the "Jubilee Split".

In contrast to the most modern of aircraft there will also be a flyover by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the Royal Navy Historic Flight featuring legendary aircraft that have stood the test of time. The unmistakable sound of a lone Lancaster bomber flying in formation with a Spitfire and Hurricane will provide a fitting tribute to "The Few".

Another golden oldie making an appearance is the world's only airworthy F-86A Sabre. The aeroplane is believed to be the first to break the sound barrier in early October 1947 shortly before the official boom by Captain Charles Yeager with the Bell X-1. The F-86A 48-178 plane visiting Leuchars flies in the distinctive recognition bands used by the US Air Force early in the Korean War.

Pic: Eurofighter
Top class RAF pilots will be putting a series of aircraft through their paces during the flying display including the Harrier, Jaguar, Nimrod and Tornado F3 with Flight Lieutenant Colin McGregor - yes he does have a famous film star brother called Ewan - hitting speeds of up to 650mph in the Tornado GR4.

They will be joined by their counterparts from abroad with the German Luftwaffe showing off the Phantom F-4F, the Royal Netherlands Air Force with a distinctively painted F-16 and the French Air Force with a Jaguar duo display team to name but a few.

More airborne thrills will come from the Power Aerobatics Xtreme Team with two brightly coloured Extra 300 aircraft in a uniquely choreographed display featuring tight aerobatics, mirror flying and head on passes.

The flying displays do not only feature fixed wing aircraft though as tactical helicopters will also take part with the Lynx, Merlin, Chinook and Puma all on show.

Flying through the air at speeds of up to 120 miles per hour will be the Army Golden Lions parachute display team who will be jumping from a height of 7,000 feet above the airfield and hurtling towards the ground in freefall for the first part of the jump before pulling the ripcord and floating gently down to earth.

However it is not only the flying display that will be keeping the crowds busy as there will be a whole host of other attractions on the ground with aviation exhibits and much, much more.

If you want to get up close and personal with the planes there will be plenty of opportunity to do so at the static aircraft park where crews will be on hand to chat to visitors and answer questions and some of the larger planes will also be open for short tours inside.

Away from the aircraft visitors will also have the chance to browse stalls, a craft fair, flight simulators and a funfair as well as plenty of options for refreshments throughout the day.

Forces veterans are always special guests at the airshow and watch all the action from a special enclosure and there are also special packages for Aircraft Enthusiasts and corporate hospitality too.

Gates and activities open at 8am on 14 September and the flying display takes place from 10am - 5pm. Advance saver tickets are available on the Ticket Hotline 08701 200 722 or on the website www.airshow.co.uk Tickets are also available on the day and price details are on the website.

Traffic heading to Leuchars for the airshow is always very heavy and visitors should allow plenty of time. There will be park and ride facilities on the A91 (just before the Guardbridge roundabout). Visitors can also take advantage of the ScotRail all inclusive rail/airshow ticket and details are available from National Rail Enquiries on 08457 484950.

(5/9/2002)

 

Castles Nearby

Leuchars Castle

Now demolished motte and bailey castle to the North of modern Leuchars standing on Castle KNowe. Nothing to be seen on the crown of the hill.

Earlshall Castle Fife

16th C courtyard castle in excellent condition and worth visiting. Provately occupied but the gardens are open and it is possible to visit by small tour. Near RAF Leuchars.  The Garden designed by Sir Robert Lorimer with topiary lawn, for which Earlshall is renowned, rose terrace, croquet lawn with herbaceous borders, shrub border, box garden, orchard, kitchen and herb garden. 

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