Renewed calls have been made for clarity on the future of The Black Watch.
There are fresh demands for the battalion to be brought “home” to Fife and for Leuchars to become Scotland’s army hub.
In November 2016, then-Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon announced The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 SCOTS)’s current home at Fort George, near Inverness, would close by 2032.
It will be part of a Ministry of Defence shake-up that would see 56 sites axed across the UK.
Sir Michael told the Commons the closures would include eight sites in Scotland and three apiece in Wales and Northern Ireland over the following 15 years because the estate was too big and costly to run.
It was suggested the changes could prove beneficial to North East Fife if the former RAF base at Leuchars, which has been home to the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards since 2015, is transformed into the main home for the army north of the border.
However, with the UK having had three Prime Ministers and four Defence Secretaries since, The Courier has been told uncertainty prevails within senior army circles.
One source said: “There have been all sorts of rumours and possibilities about when it (Fort George) should close, where the soldiers should go next and in what timeline.
“Who knows what will happen in the future, but I think the government has a lot to think about before it gets to thinking about defence estates optimisation, at least this year.”
The ongoing uncertainty comes as the 250th anniversary of Fort George is marked by Historic Environment Scotland this weekend.
North East Fife MP Stephen Gethins said: “It is important the Ministry of Defence is open and honest about its plans for future investment in military bases across Scotland, including Leuchars and Fort George.
“Service personnel and their families deserve to have good quality living and working conditions and to know where their future lies.
“I have asked the MoD on several occasions for clarification on its estates review. Most recently, following the announcement that it is to privatise the Defence Fire and Rescue Service, I also asked for reassurances on the future of the diversionary airfield which is still crucial to the RAF.
“Leuchars is one of the best assets the MoD has and, as someone with family members who served in The Black Watch and were recruited locally, I would be delighted to welcome them back to their spiritual home.”
An Army spokesperson said: “In accordance with the Better Defence Estates Strategy, which was announced in Parliament in 2016, Fort George is set to cease being a military base in 2032. The UK government has not announced any change to that. However the use of the defence estate in Scotland and the rest of the UK is constantly under review.”
•For a feature on the 250th anniversary of Fort George, and a spotlight on The Black Watch, see The Courier Weekend magazine on Saturday August 10.