The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Ayrshire entrepreneur Ross McKinnon
wins Moffat Award for boosting tourism

By: Jen Nash

A CORPORATE EVENTS specialist from Ayrshire has won a prestigious award at the inaugural Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust / Moffat Charitable Trust Awards for Travel & Tourism, held in Glasgow.

[Pictured: Mr Jamie Moffat of the Moffat Charitable Trust, Ross McKinnon of Amazing Days Scotland and Mark Strudwick, chief executive of the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust. CLICK ON IMAGE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD FULL-SIZE VERSION.]

Ross McKinnon from Kilmarnock and founder of Amazing Days Scotland, won the Moffat Award for excellent customer service as well as a £1,000 cash prize at an awards ceremony to recognise outstanding young businesses demonstrating best practice, excellent customer service and positive economic and community impact in the Scottish travel and tourism sector.

The Moffat Awards were unveiled by the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) in July last year, thanks to The Moffat Charitable Trust which has pledged almost £300,000 to support the Awards.

Ross McKinnon (27) launched his business with the help of a PSYBT loan in 2006 and specialises in offering unusual and memorable packages for corporate as well as private clients. These include experiencing Loch Lomond by speedboat, the Southern Highlands by seaplane and the Highlands by horseback.

Last year PSYBT supported over 80 tourism businesses offering goods and services that enhance the community and overall visitor experience of Scotland. Commenting, PSYBT chief executive Mark Strudwick said: “Today’s winners are shining examples of the large numbers of young entrepreneurs who are playing a leading role in creating outstanding visitor attractions and experiences in Scotland. It is thanks to The Moffat Charitable Trust that the contribution and positive community impact of young businesses such as those here today are being recognised.”

Speaking on behalf of The Moffat Charitable Trust, Mr Jamie Moffat said: “We are delighted to be supporting young people who have a passion for business, to play a leading role in enhancing tourism in Scotland. The judging was extremely difficult, but today’s finalists are very worthy winners.”

PSYBT was launched in January 1989 and is a national organisation with offices in 18 regions across Scotland. To date, 8,545 (10,118 proprietors) businesses have been assisted with £30.9m awarded - £27.5m in loans (89%) and £3.4m in grants (11%).

The Moffat Trust is named after one of Scotland’s best known names in the travel and tourism industry, Mr Jim Moffat, co-founder of AT Mays. Founded in Saltcoats in Ayrshire in the 1950s as All Travel by Mr Jim Moffat and his wife Margie Moffat, AT Mays grew to become the third largest travel group in the UK, eventually employing over 2,500 people.

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Friday, 16 May 2008

First flat horserace meeting of the season at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

AYR Racecourse holds its first flat meeting of the year on Wednesday 21 May with a seven-race card coming under starter’s orders at 2.00pm.

The first race is the European Breeders’ Fund Maiden Stakes for two year-olds over six furlongs, and it is expected that the big hitting stables of Mark Johnston and Mick Channon will both have runners in this one.

Feature race is the DM Hall Handicap over five furlongs with £10,500 in prize money, including £6,799 to the winner, and this is sure to attract some decent handicappers from the north’s top yards.

Last race on the card is the marathon Dawn Construction Handicap Stakes run over one mile seven furlongs at 5.30pm.

Special discounts are available on tickets booked seven or more days in advance. For more information go online at or call 0870-8505666.

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Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Scottish house prices on the rise once more

AFTER pausing for breath in the previous quarter, Scottish house prices are once more on the rise, according to the latest Scottish House Price Monitor from Lloyds TSB Scotland.

[Pictured: Lloyds TSB Scotland chief
economist Professor Donald MacRae.]

In the three months to 30 April 2008, the quarterly price index for the average domestic property in Scotland rose by 2.3 per cent to give an average mix adjusted Scottish house price of £163,639. On an annual basis, Scottish house prices have risen by 11.6 per cent. The gain this quarter combined with the fall in the previous quarter gives an average price change over the last six months of +1 per cent.

The north of the country is leading the rise with Aberdeen reporting an annual increase of +19 per cent and the North excluding Aberdeen a very strong +26 per cent.

Though Dundee is the only area to report a fall this quarter at -5.2 per cent, the figure for the last twelve months demonstrates the underlying strength of the market at +18 per cent. With Central/Fife/Perth and Tayside reporting a robust annual rise of +13 per cent and Edinburgh +12 per cent, any slowdown in the Central Belt looks modest.

Only in Glasgow, the South West and South East are annual figures somewhat lower. However, with all three areas reporting rises in the quarter ranging from +1.4 to +9.4 per cent, the Scottish housing market is portraying a more positive picture than elsewhere in the UK. Prices are not falling, but the rate of rise is slowing.

The price movement across Scotland is composed of price changes in different property types. Flats are showing an increase of 4.1 per cent in the quarter, detached properties an increase of 3.2 per cent and semi-detached properties an increase of 1.0 per cent. Only terraced houses show a fall in the quarter of 2.4 per cent.

Lloyds TSB Scotland chief economist Professor Donald MacRae said: “Following last quarter’s pause for breath after seven years of house price increases, the average Scottish house price is again on the rise. However, the rate of increase has slowed substantially to a much more sustainable rate.

“The latest quarterly gain has more than compensated for the last quarterly fall, to give an average price change over the last six months of +1.0 per cent.”

Steven Miller and his wife Jacqueline (pictured above) are directors of leading Ayrshire estate agents Donald Ross. Steven commented: “In general the Ayrshire market has had a good start to 2008, however the market has slowed somewhat as buyers and sellers wait to see the outcome of the recent publicity.

“The local market is much more buoyant than the press is reporting nationwide. South Ayrshire is a very robust market and still continues to offer buyers excellent value for money coupled with some of Scotland’s finest amenities, including championship golf courses, sailing, fishing and an excellent selection of award winning restaurants and hotels.

“Contrary to some predictions of a fall in prices, we would expect house price inflation to slow to between 2-5% per annum, outlining South Ayrshire’s highly desirable residential benefits.”

Bob Cherry (pictured above) is a partner in property consultants CKD Galbraith, based in their Ayr Office. Looking at the latest figures from an Ayrshire perspective, Bob commented: "The market in Ayrshire has been quieter and slower in the first part of 2008, although we are seeing a pick-up in sales this month with the better weather.

"Our experience is that properties of quality and individuality continue to sell well, provided they are marketed at a realistic guide price.

"Viewers are plentiful - but more cautious,selective and discerning as prospective buyers than in previous years.

"There is life in the market yet - professional marketing and sensible pricing is the key."

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Sunday, 11 May 2008

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle high fliers head for the airport

THE Elite Ayrshire Business Circle’s next meeting will be hosted by Glasgow Prestwick Airport at 8am for 8.30am on Friday 30 May.

Glasgow Prestwick Airport chief executive Mark Rodwell (pictured below) will give a presentation about the airport, its strategic importance for the Ayrshire economy and plans for the future.

This meeting will also feature the launch of the brand new Elite Ayrshire Business Circle website, created by leading full-service creative marketing agency PALIGAP.

Glasgow Prestwick Airport is located 32 miles south of Glasgow City Centre and celebrated its 70th birthday in 2005.

The airport currently handles approximately 2.5 million passengers per year and offers more than 30 scheduled services to European destinations, as well as charter flights to popular holiday spots. Glasgow Prestwick has excellent road and rail links to the rest of Scotland.


The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle is a newly formed association of some of the top companies in Ayrshire.

Its purpose is to publicise its members, and to celebrate and promote the rich diversity of industry, commerce and business services available within the county boundaries of Ayrshire.

Members include the Clydesdale Bank, Ayr Racecourse and the Western House Hotel, and member company activities include building and construction, architectural practice, estate agency and land management, chartered accountancy, insurance broking, legal services, golf club management, marketing services and brand creation, web design and public relations consultancy.

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle runs its own online news magazine, which can be found at:
As well as regularly updated illustrated articles about member companies, Ayrshire Business News also features rolling news, business and sports headlines, and its own online department store.

For further information about The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle and to apply for membership, e-mail

Founder members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle:

Clydesdale Bank
Ayr Racecourse
Western House Hotel
CKD Galbraith Property Consultants
Frazer Coogans Solicitors
Accident & Injury Claims Centre
MacKay Corporate Insurance Brokers
Donald Ross Estate Agents:
William Skinner & Son Building Contractors
Sinclair Scott Chartered Accountants
Paligap Creative Agency
ARP Lorimer & Associates Architects
Brunston Castle Golf Club
Fouters Restaurant
Christie Financial Planning Ltd
Allison Lightbody Waddell Chartered Surveyors
Fame Publicity Services
Kestrel Press Ltd Printers

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle
Registered Office:
Dalblair House
46 Dalblair Road
Ayr KA7 1UQ

Telephone: 01292 281498
Mobile: 07833 667322.


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