RESTORATION work has begun on the Scottish beach which famously featured in the epic film Chariots of Fire, as well as in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.
Dunes which divide the West Sands at St Andrews from the famous Old Course were badly damaged in a storm six years ago.
Now, legacy money from golf’s Open Championship, which is staged at St Andrews every five years, is being used to help pay for restitution. Gordon Moir, green-keeping director of the St Andrews Links Trust, which is responsible for both the golf course and the beach, said: “The historic, recreational and economic value to St Andrews of the West Sands and the surrounding area make it vitally important that they are protected.”
He added: “As the winter months have shown, we are not immune to the strong winds and high tides so it is important that this work continues.”
During the storm of March 2010, “substantial” amounts of sand were lost from the dunes, and while some parts have since recovered, other areas have remained vulnerable to further erosion. The latest works are the fourth phase of the restoration process and involve moving sand from the beach to rebuild the dunes.
Fencing around the dunes is also being renewed to allow the area to replenish naturally and grow without being trampled.
The West Sands gained world fame in 1981 when it featured in the opening sequence of Chariots of Fife.
In 2012, the beach again played a cultural role when the Olympics came to London, with participants in the torch relay running on the sands.
It also featured in the Olympics opening ceremony.
The historic, recreactional and economic value of the West Sands and the surrounding area make it vitally important that they are protectedGordon Moir
Fife Coast and Countryside Trust ranger Ranald Strachan, who is helping to supervise the project, said: “The repair works at West Sands have been long awaited and are vital to help ensure the sand dunes along the beach are safe to the public.
“The fourth phase of the works will utilise funds from the Open legacy project in order to protect and support the blowout restoration..”
Johnnie Cole- Hamilton, the Royal and Ancient’s championships executive director, added: “Sustainable management of the environment around the West Sands is extremely important and we are delighted that through the success of the Open we can support this work.”