Outlander sails into town . . .

Two master brig the Phoenix from Portsmouth anchored off Kirkcaldy
Two master brig the Phoenix from Portsmouth anchored off Kirkcaldy

An old two-masted clipper ship sailed up the river into town this week - sparking huge interest among locals.

The vessel – the Phoenix from Portsmouth – is currently anchored off Kirkcaldy, en route to Dysart harbour where there is growing exciterment as preparations move into full swing for filming of season two of the fantasy adventure series Outlander, described as the “Scottish Game of Thrones.”

The second season will follow the second of American author Diana Gabaldon’s eight books, Dragonfly in Amber, with scenes already shot at Aberdour and Balgonie Castles, Falkland and in Culross. It is expected to hit television screens some time next year.

And the prospect of Dysart harbour appearing on television has captured the imagination of locals who will be appearing as extras in crowd scenes when filming gets underway on Tuesday.

The series was first broadcast in America in August 2014, where it has become a huge hit. In the UK it is being shown on Amazon Prime, with the final part of series one due to air this weekend.

Dysart harbour is currently being transformed into the French port of Le Havre during the 1740s, with scenes of a cholera outbreak due to be filmed on Tuesday and Wednesday, mainly in the evening.

Huge lighting rigs to are being put in place to illuminate the harbour, while lamp-posts and ladders are being covered or hidden behind props to re-create the period.

And locals are getting right behind the production with local fishermen being praised for their support.

Eunice Cameron, secretary of Dysart Community Council, said filming would help to put Dysart on the international map.

“This is absolutely great and I am thrilled that they have chosen our little harbour to film in,” she told the Press.

“The production crew have been here for about two weeks now and they will be here until June 9.

“There have been lots of people coming along to see what is going on, particularly since the ship arrived in the Forth.”

Eunice, former headmistress of Osborne School who lives in Dysart, said details of filming had been outlined to locals at a public meeting in April with members of the production team, Community Council and Fife Council.

“There were about 30 residents there and it was met with a very favourable response, with everyone very excited at the prospect of the filming,” she said.

Some of the money from the shoot would be used to replace the roof on the Sailing Club which was destroyed by a fire in January 2012.

“It is going to be really good for Dysart. I am sure we will see a rise in tourism as a result of the filming, because the harbour will be mentioned in the credits,” she added.

“I am hoping that we can get some more information boards put up around the village, which will mention the film location too.”

Stewart Forrest, locations assistant, said: “There’s a huge amount of work involved in setting up something like this, and it all starts months in advance.

“Everyone here has been brilliant. The fishermen have been really helpful, even helping us to lift in some of the heavier stuff.

“We try to accommodate the local community and cause minimal disruption, but there will be a certain amount, with roads closed and entry restricted.

“Things have been running smoothly so far, and the big ship will be coming into the harbour later this week. That will cause a lot of excitement.

“Our aim is to leave the scene looking better than it did before - I think I have already swept the area about three times!”

Locals have been intrigued by all the comings and goings, but everyone welcomed the news that Dysart was to be a film location.

Toni Clark (35) from Kirkcaldy was visiting for a walk with her child.

“It is quite exciting and I think it will be very good for the town,” she said.

“It is a beautiful spot and we come along for a walk every few weeks, so it is good that the rest of the world is going to see how lovely it is too.”

Barbara Ritchie (63) had walked along from Kinghorn with her friend.

“It is really interesting to see them tranforming the harbour and it is going to be really good for tourism in Dysart,” she said.

“I hope it comes on to regular television so we can all see it.”

Preparation for filming

Filming is set take place in the harbour area on Tuesday and Wednesday next week between 3.00 p.m. and 2.00 a.m.
Preparations have included removing or covering lamp-posts and ladders around the harbour and installing props such as wooden barrels, coils of rope and lanterns.
Lighting on cherry pickers will be used along the clifftop from Ravenscraig Park and inside the harbour basin.
Hot Pot Wynd will be closed to traffic on the days of the film shooting, with diversions in place for traffic.
A large marquee for extras will also be erected next to the harbour car park which is being used to accommodate the trucks bringing the equipment and props.
Filming and the removal of all the props and equipment is due to be finished by June 9.