Volunteers will ensure historic St Monans landmark is open to visitors

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L-R Henry Sun, Lesley McNaughton, John Kinsman, Anne Kinsman and St Andrews cluster venue manager Louise Logan

More visitors will get to enjoy a historic Fife windmill thanks to a group of volunteers.

Members of a community emergency service in east Fife have offered their time to open up St Monans windmill.

The six crew members of Coastwatch St Monans, and their trust dog Luna, use the windmill to monitor incidents at sea.

In a new volunteering initiative with Fife Cultural Trust, they will open the windmill for a set number of hours every day.

John Kinsman, the Coastwatch St Monans station manager, said: “We’re really happy to be able to help keep the doors open to such a unique part of Fife’s history.

“Visitors have come from as far afield as Canada and Australia to see the place on their travels. It has been a popular destination for locals and tourists for so long, but access isn’t always easy.

“We hope that our manning the station will help bring consistency.”

The volunteers are on the lookout for donations.

“It’s a well preserved building but we still need a few minor upgrades to make it that bit more inhabitable – basics such as plug points, a kettle and a lick of paint wouldn’t go amiss,” John said.

“We would be incredibly grateful for any donations.”

The trust’s volunteering development officer Lesley McNaughton said six “fabulous” volunteers are keeping the venue open.

A little known gem of the East Neuk, St Monans Windmill sits just a few hundred yards east of its namesake village.

On its  perch, with views of the Forth, the windmill is regarded as a fine example of sustainable engineering from the 18th Century and the most tangible reminder of the local salt industry.

Salt production at St Monans started at the behest of Sir John Anstruther.

In 1771 he and his business partner established the Newark Coal and Salt Company.

The windmill provided power to pump sea water from reservoirs, cut into the rocks offshore, into the salt pans.

At the height of operations the salt pans employed 20 men, while the colliery serving it employed a further 36.

The entire operation stopped production by 1823 but the windmill stump survived, and has been restored and re-roofed.

The windmill will open from 11am to 2pm until April 1 and from 11am to 4pm from April 1 to October 31.