The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Saturday, 18 December 2010

ARPL Architects Ltd recognised in Annual Roses Design Awards

Ayr-based ARPL Architects have triumphed in the Annual Roses Design Awards for 2010. Given to recognise the best design projects in architecture and design in the UK, the Roses Awards are one of the most prestigious design awards in the country.


ARPL Architects were given the highest award in the Affordable Housing category for their new housing project at Kingcase Church, Prestwick. Built for Ayrshire Housing, the project provides four houses and six flats for rent on a constrained site behind the church.

The project was carried out as a partnership with Kingcase Church who added a new extension and upgrade to their church halls alongside the housing.

The houses and flats are carefully designed to give life long flexibility in use allowing residents to remain in their own homes even if their housing needs change through disability. The buildings employ an innovative form of tile cladding on the external walls to give a striking coloured look to the project. The tile cladding, insulation levels and heat gains from the sun ensure the new homes are highly sustainable keeping residents fuel bills to a minimum.

The design award continues the regular recognition given to ARPL Architects for their design work and environmental projects.

The Kingcase project can be seen on the ARPL website at:

ARPL Architects Ltd

The directors of ARPL Architects Ltd are Patrick Lorimer, Robert Gilliland, Gordon Fleming, and Rebecca Cadie with John Ramsay, Stewart Glendinning and Kenneth Handley as associates.

The ARPL philosophy is to produce buildings to the highest design standards in close consultation with its clients. Designs are innovative and sympathetic to both the immediate and the broader environment in which they are constructed, with an emphasis on sustainability. Each project embraces the unique nature of the client’s needs and the site.

Over the 36 years since Patrick Lorimer established the original practice, ARPL’s status in the profession has grown steadily in line with its position as a medium-sized practice with a reputation for well executed projects. From its base in Ayr the practice carries out projects over a wide geographical area from the Orkneys and the Western Isles to Ireland.

The firm’s project experience covers the fields of housing, churches, schools, commercial projects, private houses, community and arts buildings. Particular expertise has been developed in contemporary sustainable design, specialist conservation works and design for historically sensitive environments.

ARPL’s work has received wide recognition through numerous design and environmental awards presented over the years for its new build and conservation works. Regular success in design competitions adds to the practice portfolio.

ARPL are currently working on new and refurbishment housing for Lochside, Ayr, several church and castle conservation and restoration projects and new community facilities in the South West of Scotland. Appointments for church commissions involve a range of denominations and projects from conservation and repair to extensions and new build. The firm is also involved in country houses and estates and the design of new houses for private owners.

The practice typically handles projects with construction values ranging from £100k through to £15m.

ARPL directors have managed to keep their business stable during the current difficult times, and have a busy current workload.

ARPL Architects Ltd is a founder member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


ARPL Architects Ltd
Architects and Quantity Surveyors
11 Wellington Square
Ayr KA7 1EN
Ayrshire, Scotland

Contact: Patrick Lorimer
Tel: 01292 289777
Fax: 01292 288896



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Thursday, 16 December 2010

Christmas message from John Scott, MSP for Ayr

One of the greatest privileges of serving as the Member of the Scottish Parliament for Ayr constituency is the opportunity to meet with the countless local people who give so freely of their time to help those less fortunate than themselves through voluntary efforts, and those who work in our public services to improve the quality of life for everyone living in our community.

Whether it is the efforts made by such volunteers, or just the simple act of being a good friend and good neighbour, such expressions of compassion and kindness are of particular value at this time of the year.

Christmas is a time for families and friends, but we must always remember those who are less fortunate than ourselves, and those for whom this special time is perhaps filled less with joy than with sadness.

For one day each year – Christmas Day – much of the world comes together to celebrate and share a common ideal of peace on earth and goodwill towards all men. Our resolve should be to strive to live up to this ideal each and every day.

As we approach a new year, we must renew our determination to raise the quality of life for all people. While much may divide us as a world, be it belief, creed, faith or simple geography, we are united nonetheless by our common membership of the fellowship of man.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

John Scott MSP

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Tuesday, 14 December 2010

South Ayrshire Provost Winifred Sloan’s Christmas Message 2010

As we approach Christmas, it’s time to reflect on the past year, especially the way in which our communities have coped and responded to the inclement weather conditions. We started January 2010 with severe winter conditions and we’ve ended the year in similar fashion.

There’s much discussion about resourcefulness and the resilience within our local communities as individuals and families struggle to get back to normal after enduring some of the most severe weather conditions within living memory. However, resourcefulness and resilience appears in many forms across South Ayrshire. I witness these qualities in abundance throughout the year while carrying out my civic duties.

During 2010, I have been especially touched by the many people who have given their free time and willingly volunteer to help improve the quality of life of others. South Ayrshire is indeed fortunate to have many such volunteers who support people in so many different ways.

Several local organisations have celebrated significant landmarks in 2010 including Troon Golf Club, the Lowland Reserve Army Cadet Force, Opportunities in Retirement, Prestwick Prom, Prestwick Golf Club, Crossroads Carers, the Grand Priory of Ayrshire and Ayr Flower Show, to name but a few. Today, these organisations are all going strong thanks to the volunteers who work, often unsung, in the background.

My admiration for the work undertaken by several unsung heroes has led to the awarding of two Provost’s medals during 2010. This is only the second occasion the medals have been awarded during my time in office. The worthy recipients are Michael Hitchon and Thea Petticrew. These are two individuals who every day goes the “extra mile” to make a difference for the benefit of others.

These local residents are just two shining examples within our communities across South Ayrshire. Ordinary people who will go out to ensure others have a caring and comforting Christmas.

As the Council’s Veterans’ Champion; and following our recent Freedom Parade in Ayr, an event that marked the homecoming of 1st Battalion Scots Guards to South Ayrshire, it’s vital we remember those who cannot be with their loved ones at Christmas, as these troops are based abroad, fighting to secure our homeland security.

We must also pay tribute to those who gave their lives for our country and consider their bereaved families as the festive holiday period draws closer. Their service and self-sacrifice is both humbling and inspirational.

The warmth and appreciation our servicemen and women experienced from the people of South Ayrshire, who turned out in huge numbers to welcome the troops back home, is nothing short of inspirational. As Provost, I’d like to thank everyone who demonstrated their support to our service personnel.

So many people, especially tourists and visitors, comment South Ayrshire is a beautiful area, a great place to live, to work and enjoy life. Many of our local residents and business people are outstanding ambassadors for the county; encouraging enterprise and investment; embracing innovation as well as promoting the best South Ayrshire has to offer. These ambassadors have a clear eye on the future in terms of jobs, economic prosperity, growth and the long term future of the county.

We are due to close 2010 on a festive high with the Christmas Winter Wonderland in full swing at Wellington Square. I’ve been marveling at the footwork on display at the ice rink and have been very impressed with the number of people supporting these activities and other events organised over the forthcoming festive period.

Moving forward to 2011, we will continue to work tirelessly in order to improve the health opportunities and quality of life of all our residents. We also look forward to welcoming even greater numbers of tourists to the area and allow visitors to experience our unique, warm and friendly way of life.

Over the festive break, I hope everyone will have a chance to take time out from their daily routines and share some quality time with family and friends. Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year!

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Saturday, 11 December 2010

Ayr Racecourse wins top award for seventh successive year

Ayr Racecourse has been voted Racecourse of the Year 2010 for Scotland and the North East by The Racegoer’s Club - the seventh consecutive year the course has won this coveted award.

Ayr's great run began back in 2004, the first full year current owners Alan Macdonald and Richard Johnstone were in charge - and Scotland’s premier track has won the award every year since.

Huge improvements have taken place at the track over the past seven years, including the new £4.5 million Ayrshire Suite, the introduction of new fine dining restaurants including the Roman Warrior and the Chancellor Carvery. And there’s also been huge changes made to the Parade Ring and Winners Enclosure, plus the creation of the Champagne Lawn and Gardens - the perfect place to be on a hot summer day!

The honour from The Racegoers Club is highly valued by the team at Ayr, as it comes from a Club whose 6,500 members are all active racegoers. Ayr has now won the award 17 times since 1990.

Lindsey Smith, Sales and Marketing Manager at Ayr Racecourse said: “We are so pleased to have won this award, which underlines our status as one of the top racecourses in the UK.

“To have won the award seven times is a great feather in our cap, and we thank everyone at the Racegoers Club for voting for us.”

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Ayr welcomes Scots Guards home from Afghanistan

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion Scots Guards, returning home from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, have been welcomed in the streets of Ayr by hundreds of well wishers.

The Battalion has a long association with South Ayrshire, and the parade was organised to give local residents the chance to express their support for the troops, returning home from active service in Afghanistan.

The Scots Guards were granted the Freedom of the District by Kyle and Carrick District Council in 1979, and the 2010 homecoming parade was the first time they have exercised their right to march through Ayr with fixed bayonets.

Assembling at County Buildings, the Battalion was inspected by South Ayrshire Provost Winifred Sloan, before moving off along Pavilion Road, Barnes Street, Dalblair Road, Alloway Street and onto Ayr’s High Street, where Provost Sloan took the eyes-right salute at the Wallace Tower.

The Battalion continued their parade along the High Street, flanked by scores of people cheering and applauding them, arriving at Ayr Town Hall, where Provost Sloan hosted an informal reception.

Provost Sloan said: “I was delighted so many people in South Ayrshire turned out to support the 1st Battalion Scots Guards, returning home after a particularly difficult tour of duty.

“Veterans, service personnel, families, friends and local residents took to the streets to give our troops a heartfelt and warm South Ayrshire welcome home as they return to their loved ones in time for Christmas.

“It was a great privilege to take part in the Battalion’s salute to the Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire at the Wallace Tower and I was proud to mark their first parade with a reception at the Town Hall.”

Commanding Officer of the Battalion Lieutenant Colonel Lincoln Jopp said: “It is a great pleasure, and indeed an honour, for the Scots Guards to be able to come back home to Scotland and to share the joy of our homecoming with the people of South Ayrshire.

“While we were over in Afghanistan we were inundated with love and support from home, and had a great sense that people back in Scotland were rooting for us every step of the way.

“Our mission was incredibly difficult, and there wasn’t a day that passed when I did not marvel at just how fantastic these brave young Scots Guardsmen are. I am so proud of every single one of them, and I know that Scotland is too. So it’s great to be able to share that pride.”

Provost Sloan concluded: “As we welcome the Scots Guards safe homecoming, it is appropriate to look back and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for us, their colleagues, the Battalion and their country.

“For some families, the festive season will be a sombre and difficult time, remembering loved ones who did not come home, or those brave men and women injured or maimed in combat.

“I hope all service families receive the love and support they need to move on with their lives, and trust this break from duty will give all Scots Guards a well earned chance to rest and recuperate from the rigours of service in Afghanistan.

“On behalf of the people of South Ayrshire and the Council , I would like to wish the Battalion a restful Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

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Friday, 10 December 2010

Ayr Racecourse stages Christmas Party Raceday on Monday

Ayr Racecourse stages a Christmas Party Raceday on Monday 13 December with the seven race card due off at 12.20 pm.

The opening race is the Bet Live At Novices Hurdle over two miles four furlongs and there's a good mix of hurdles and chases plus a national hunt flat race throughout the afternoon.

Feature race is the Bet Now At Handicap Chase over three miles one furlong and due off at 2.25 pm with £9000 in the prize fund. Other races include the Watch Live Racing At Beginners Chase at 1.20 pm and the Hurdle at 3.00 pm.

On Tuesday the official going at the track was described as good, good to soft, frozen in places, but course officials hopeful the recent rise in temperatures will ensure racing goes ahead on Monday.

Gates open at 11.00 am.

For more information go online on or call 01292 264179.

For media enquires please contact Iain Ferguson on 07795 565691.

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Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Christmas Wonderland comes to Ayr

Ayr’s first ever Christmas Wonderland was officially opened by South Ayrshire Provost Winifred Sloan last week, marking the start of a new and exciting festive attraction for the area.

[Pictured: Provost Winifred Sloan and Alan Macdonald, Chairman of the Dawn Group at the opening of Ayr’s Christmas Wonderland.]

Christmas Wonderland – a partnership project between Ayr Renaissance, South Ayrshire Council and the Dawn Group – features an open-air ice rink in Wellington Square, complemented by a Christmas market, Santa’s Grotto, tearoom, mini-fair and entertainment (at selected times).

To open the Christmas Wonderland, Provost Sloan was joined by a special skating Santa Claus (AKA former Ayr Bruins ice hockey player Jim Thomson) as well as Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, a number of South Ayrshire Councillors, Community Councillors and representatives from the many businesses that have come together to make the Wonderland a reality.

Santa was the first on the ice after Provost Sloan cut a ribbon to open the skating rink and was quickly followed by a terrific display from the Ayr Force Synchronised Skating Team – resplendent in their Santa outfits.

There were also performances from singer Nicola Cassells and players from the Braehead Ice Hockey Clan.

Making a special appearance were Barassie Primary School pupils Kieran Roberton and Leah Patterson who created the winning Christmas lamppost banner design in the annual competition sponsored by Owen Kerr Signs.

Provost Sloan said: “I am absolutely delighted Christmas Wonderland has come to Ayr. Outdoor skating has long been associated with seasonal celebrations in the great towns and cities of the world and Ayr is now part of that exciting tradition. I encourage people throughout South Ayrshire and beyond to come and enjoy Ayr’s Christmas Wonderland and make it part of their festive fun.”

Alan Macdonald, Chairman of the Dawn Group, added: “I think this will be a huge asset to the town of Ayr during December and hopefully this will become an annual event.

“I am delighted South Ayrshire Council has lent its support to this project and I am sure many, many people will enjoy skating at Wellington Square.”

Ayr Christmas Wonderland, which is supported by Paligap, Owen Kerr Signs and the Ayrshire Post, opens every day (except Christmas Day) between 11am and 9pm until 30 December.

Advance bookings for skating sessions can be made via the Citadel Box Office on 01292 269793 and tickets will also be available on the day, subject to availability.


South Ayrshire Council

Dawn Group

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Thursday, 2 December 2010

Glasgow Prestwick handles flights diverted from other Scottish airports

Glasgow Prestwick Airport has handled a number of diverted flights this week after other Scottish airports were forced to close because of snow and ice.

On Sunday, an Emirates Airlines’ flight from Dubai landed at Prestwick after Glasgow Airport closed. Also that day, Prestwick accepted a number of Easyjet and Ryanair flights bound for Edinburgh.

Monday, it hosted four Eastern Airways flights - from Norwich, Nottingham, Liverpool and Scatsta in the Shetland Islands - which were unable to land at Aberdeen Airport.

Glasgow Prestwick has been unaffected by the severe weather conditions across Scotland and its own schedule of Ryanair and Wizz flights is operating normally.

Chief Executive Iain Cochrane (pictured above) said: “Once again when severe weather strikes, Glasgow Prestwick demonstrates its value to Scottish aviation by having the space, resources and expertise to handle a wide range of aircraft at short notice. Our staff, both airside and in the terminal, did a fantastic job in assisting passengers and aircrew during their unplanned visits here.

He added: “We have an excellent weather record and plenty of space for aircraft to park. We’re prepared to receive more diversions, should the severe weather continue.”

In recent years, Prestwick has handled diverted flights from New York, San Francisco, Peking, Tokyo, Cairo, Las Vegas, Cyprus and Cape Town.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Clydesdale Bank boosts business development team in Ayrshire

Clydesdale Bank has underlined its commitment to the local business community in Ayr with the appointment of a new business development partner to its Ayrshire Financial Solutions Centre.

Stewart Rogerson will further strengthen Clydesdale Bank’s Ayrshire business development team, and his appointment will enable the Bank to enhance the service it offers to local businesses.

[Pictured: Willie Mackie, managing partner at Clydesdale Bank’s Ayrshire Financial Solutions Centre (top centre) with (left to right) Mark Wilson, Stewart Rogerson and Alison McGregor.]

Stewart brings over 25 years of commercial banking experience to the role and moves from the Bank of Scotland where he held the role of Relationship Director.

Ayrshire-born Stewart has extensive knowledge of the local area, and has worked predominantly in the West of Scotland throughout his banking career in a variety of roles.

Earlier this year Clydesdale Bank announced the appointment of Alison McGregor, Regional Director, Corporate Development, and Mark Wilson, senior partner for business development, to assist local businesses with a turnover of up to £50M.

Alison McGregor joined Clydesdale Bank in March 2010, and has over 20 years worth of experience in Corporate Banking, having spent the bulk of her career to date with Barclays Bank PLC, where she undertook roles as Corporate Director and latterly as Deputy Managing Director, Scotland.

In August, Mark Wilson moved to the business development team from Clydesdale Bank’s corporate and structured finance team in Glasgow, where he held the position of director of acquisition finance for five years.

Willie Mackie, managing partner at Clydesdale Bank’s Ayrshire Financial Solutions Centre, said: “We are delighted to announce the further expansion of our business development team across Ayrshire. This will enable us to enhance the support and assistance we provide to local companies which they need to develop and grow.

“Stewart’s appointment will reinforce our excellent relationship with the business community in Ayrshire, and is further evidence of our commitment made in October last year to lend up to £2bn to Scottish business over the next two years.”

Clydesdale Bank launched its new business support initiative – Investing for Growth – to help successful businesses grow and develop by easing their cashflow pressures. The support package offers both new and existing business customers a dedicated planning service and a more flexible approach to lending.

Loan repayment holidays, interest-only repayments and extended loan and credit facilities are just some of the flexible support options available under the Investing for Growth initiative which also includes a dedicated financial planning service.

Clydesdale Bank

Clydesdale Bank is part of the National Australia Bank Group. Clydesdale Bank was established in 1838 in Glasgow and, as one of Scotland’s largest banks, has a proud history of innovation and support for Scottish industry and communities as well as a significant presence in London and the South of England. With its sister bank, Yorkshire Bank, Clydesdale has 339 retail branches across Scotland, the North of England and the Midlands, and 72 Financial Solutions Centres throughout the UK, which offer customers a highly integrated business and private banking service.

Financial Solutions Centres

Financial Solutions Centres (FSC) focus on the communities in which they operate. Each of the UK- wide network of 72 FSCs offers a tailored range of business and private banking services under one roof. A team of specialist partners provide customers with end-to-end solutions for all of their banking needs. Each customer benefits from the in-depth expertise of a dedicated relationship partner who takes the time to get to know them and their business and is able to make fast, local decisions. In addition to banking services, the FSCs also operate as a hub for local business, with a range of networking opportunities and meeting facilities available as a benefit of membership.

Clydesdale Bank
Financial Solutions Centre
43 Alloway Street
Ayr KA7 1SP
Ayrshire, Scotland

Contact: Willie Mackie, Managing Partner
Tel: 01292 272072
Fax: 01292 280202

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Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Ayr Racecourse jumps season takes off on Wednesday 1 December

By: Iain Ferguson

JUMPS racing returns to Ayr on Wednesday 1 December with a seven race card due off at 12.20pm.

The winter action continues through until the showpiece of the 2010/11season at Ayr – the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival on Friday 15 April and Saturday 16 April.

[Pictured: Merigo ridden by jockey Timmy Murphy (green with yellow sash), trained by Andrew Parker in Lockerbie for owners Ray and Anita Anderson Green winning the 2010 Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr Racecourse.]

For the first meeting of the season though the fare will be a little more modest, although still competitive, with more than £40,000 in prize money on offer.

The two feature races of the afternoon are the Bet Live At Victorchandler.Com Novices’ Chase over two miles at 12.50pm and the Best Odds Guaranteed At Victor Chandler Handicap Chase at 1.25pm – both with prize funds of £9000.

First race on the card is due off at 12.20pm with the final contest at 3.30pm.

Lindsey Smith, Sales and Marketing Manager at Ayr Racecourse said: “I am really looking forward to the start of the jumps season. We have a good afternoon’s racing in prospect, and the track should be in great condition having not been raced on since April.”

Gates open at 11.00am and for more information go online on or call 01292-264179.

For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 07795-565691.

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Scottish produce could help tourism industry increase sales by £94million

Tourism businesses could increase sales in Scotland by up to £94million simply by making the most of Scotland’s world class food offering, according to a new guide.

“Food & Drink Experience in Scotland” challenges tourism businesses – from restaurants to local tourist attractions and guest houses – to raise their game by serving up fresh, quality, local produce to improve the food and drink experience they offer visitors.

[Pictured: Enterprise Minister Jim Mather with chef Suzanne O’Connor (sitting) and waitress Sochi Green from The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant in the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh at the launch of the Food & Drink Experience in Scotland Guide.]

Research suggests that people would be happy to spend an average 7% more on food and drink when they visit businesses with an authentic Scottish food offering based on quality local produce. This would be a real boost to the £800million each year overnight visitors currently spend on food and drink when they visit Scotland, second only to spend on accommodation.

The new guide has been produced by Tourism Intelligence Scotland, a joint venture developed by Scottish Enterprise, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and VisitScotland, and is packed with information and tips on how to tap into this potential spend by giving visitors the best culinary experience possible.

Speaking at the launch of the guide, Enterprise Minister Jim Mather said: “Scotland is a world-class culinary destination – as recognised by the International Culinary Tourism Association in its first ever worldwide study, which declared Scotland one of the most ‘unique, memorable and interesting places’ for food and drink on the planet.

“Through the Year of Food and Drink, Scotland is working to promote and celebrate our reputation as a Land of Food and Drink so that more people, both at home and visiting Scotland, are aware of, and have opportunities to enjoy, our delicious produce.

“Our cafes, hotels, restaurants and pubs have a key role to play in delivering a story about the provenance and authenticity of our food and drink - especially to those who visit Scotland as a destination of choice. The new guide will help to ensure the overall customer experience is as excellent as the authentic produce for which Scotland is world-renowned.”

The guide suggests that by introducing Scottish food and drink to menus and promoting its provenance, businesses have an opportunity to attract a greater number of higher-spending and longer-staying visitors, increase recommendations and provide valuable support for local businesses and the local economy.

It offers particular advice to businesses such as visitor attractions, as research has found that tourists spend more time and money during a visit when they are offered authentic local food in its restaurant or café.

Scottish Enterprise tourism product manager Katrina Morrison said: “Two-thirds of visitors think that quality of food is an important factor when deciding where to go on holiday, and three out of four think that eating local cuisine could enhance their visit. By offering quality, regional food on our menus, we can satisfy our visitors’ desire for an authentic Scottish experience and at the same time make more money.”

A complementary guide “At Your Service – A Practical Guide to Delivering the Best Food and Drink Experience in Scotland” has also been developed by Scottish Enterprise in partnership with Tourism Intelligence Scotland. It contains information for front line staff in tourism businesses and gives them easy reference facts about different food types, a visual calendar of seasonality, background information on classic Scottish dishes and drinks, and hints and tips on how to ‘up-sell’ to customers.

Welcoming the guides, renowned Scottish chef Andrew Fairlie said: “These guides are a fantastic resource for all tourism businesses to help them to improve and develop the culinary experience we offer in Scotland. We have an exceptional natural larder on our doorstep, and we know that our fresh produce and unique Scottish dishes are highly anticipated by our visitors as an integral part of their tourism experience. It is up to us to use Scotland’s natural larder in our cooking – working collaboratively with suppliers, food producers and other local businesses to ensure that we protect the sustainability of our beautiful country and offer the very best food and drink experience at our tables.”

“Food & Drink Experience in Scotland” and “At Your Service” are available free to Scottish Tourism businesses who register at which provides a wealth of helpful insights and tips for businesses.

The launch of the guides is the latest initiative from Tourism Intelligence Scotland (TIS), a joint venture developed by Scottish Enterprise, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and VisitScotland, in partnership with the tourism industry, to stimulate growth and innovation in tourism. TIS has recently entered an exciting phase of growth enabling it to provide an enhanced range of market intelligence resources for tourism businesses. These resources, which include the regular ‘Ear to the Ground’ newsletter, information on news and events, plus access to the latest research and intelligence, are free to businesses that register their details with TIS.

The guide is part of the “Opportunities for Growth” series, aimed at helping tourism companies make the most of new and emerging opportunities in the sector.

Other guides in the “Opportunities for Growth” series include: Knowing Our Markets…Scotland’s Visitors; Scottish Tourism in the Future; Walking Tourism; Listening to our Visitors; Golf Tourism; and Adventure Travel in Scotland.

Scottish Enterprise is also providing through the Experiencing Scotland project, specialist food service advice and support to tourism businesses across Scotland. This will help create marketing opportunities for businesses across the supply chain, as well as increasing the use of local, fresh and seasonal produce at Scottish visitor destinations.

Scottish Enterprise is Scotland's main economic development agency and aims to deliver a significant, lasting effect on the Scottish economy. Our role is to help identify and exploit the best opportunities for economic growth. We support ambitious Scottish companies to compete within the global marketplace and help build Scotland’s globally competitive sectors. We also work with a range of partners in the public and private sectors to attract new investment to Scotland and to help create a world-class business environment.

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Sunday, 21 November 2010

Celebrate the festive season in a Scottish cottage or castle!

With Christmas and New Year being just around the corner many people’s thoughts are turning to a festive getaway, and what better way to spend it than in true Scottish fashion.

Despite the recession and a degree of caution in the market place, Scotland’s largest specialist self-catering holiday company Cottages & Castles, has experienced an increase in bookings for large houses this year with a 15% percent increase in bookings to date, against last year’s figures.

Sue Bourne, Manager of Cottages & Castles believes a lot of people who may normally consider a winter break abroad are deciding to stay in the UK and choose Scotland which is renowned for New Year. The weather can be unpredictable and travel arrangements chaotic over the festive period, so holidaying at home is a preferred option.

A luxurious festive getaway is an extremely affordable option with some of the most spectacular self-catering accommodation in Scotland available from as little as £29 per head per night. Properties offer all the facilities of a first class hotel whilst also providing the freedom to have full run of the accommodation.

Sue said: “Christmas and New Year in Scotland offers an idyllic time to celebrate with loved ones. We are finding the real growth in the market is from families who want a traditional Scottish experience in a high quality property, whether with the whole family, or with a group of friends. There is also a steady influx of visitors from abroad wishing to stay in a stunning castle or country mansion and see in the bells with their very own Scottish Hogmanay and ceilidh dance.”

The full range of self-catering accommodation offered by Cottages & Castles includes cosy cottages for two, traditional bothies and log cabins, city-centre apartments as well as castles and country mansions for larger parties.

Some of the best deals still available for large groups this festive period include:

Dell House Whitebridge, Inverness-shire (pictured above)

Sleeps 14. New Year price £2900. An impressive Georgian house with grounds running down to the shores of Loch Ness where you could enjoy your own New Year ‘Nessy’ Hunt. Elegantly decorated, the house offers an abundance of charm and character and the large dining room is perfect for a lovely Christmas family dinner whilst the log fire in the drawing room sets a tone for a spectacular New Year party.

Wards Gartocharn, Loch Lomond (pictured above)

Sleeps 20. New Year price £5500. Set within 600 acres of private ground, this exceptional modern country house has been stunningly refurbished and offers an abundance of public space, making it an ideal festive retreat. The conservatory has a delightful log burner whilst the swimming pool offers a heaven of relaxation. The outstanding sitting and dining room with large glass windows and double heighted ceilings offering fantastic views across the Lochans and provide the perfect backdrop whilst seeing in the New Year and dancing the night away.

New Lodge, New Kelso, Strathcarron in Wester Ross (pictured above)

Sleeps 18. New Year price £5500. This is a truly exceptional purpose-built holiday house offering unsurpassed facilities and presentation. Being finished to the highest of standards, the rooms are spacious and bright. The kitchen is exceptional and likewise is the formal sitting room which benefits from a wood burning stove and 180 degrees of windows offering marvellous views to the sea and the mountains behind. Outside you will find the ‘ceilidh barn’ a superb space filled with every games table you could imagine, a 60” flat screen TV, large wood burner, bathroom and kitchen area. This is a truly spectacular venue for a large family and group of friends wishing to escape and celebrate the festive period in style.

House of Craigie, Ayrshire (pictured above)

Sleeps 14. New Year price £4000. This simply wonderful B listed Georgian Manse offers fabulous facilities and a stunning garden setting in the beautiful Ayrshire countryside with views over the Firth of Clyde. Everything has been thought of with beautiful furnishings throughout and the bedrooms present a luxurious country house atmosphere. There is an abundance of public space with a bright, gracious, formal drawing room, a large family/TV room and a terrific games room. Large groups of family and friends will also be able to make the most of the wonderful private swimming pool complete with its own shower rooms, patio and views across the delightful garden.

To learn more about the full range of properties available through Cottages & Castles over the festive period, visit or call 01738 451610.

About Cottages and Castles Ltd

Cottages and Castles Ltd, established in 1983, is Scotland’s specialist holiday lettings company with over 600 properties in its portfolio and is privileged to be the official letting agents for The National Trust of Scotland.

The company’s dedication and attention to detail has made them one of the largest self catering companies in Scotland offering an enviable range of holiday cottages, exclusive large houses, holiday castles, Scottish mansions and country lodges.

Cottages & Castles is operated by CKD Galbraith, one of Scotland’s leading independent property consultancies with 12 regional offices throughout Scotland.

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Saturday, 13 November 2010

Winter Golf Guarantee at Turnberry, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scotland

Turnberry, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scotland, has so much confidence in its unusually mild climate that it is offering a guarantee to golfers staying in the hotel this winter.

Situated just 50 miles from Glasgow on the breathtaking Ayrshire coast, Turnberry basks in warmer air from the northern extension of the Gulf Stream, so rarely sees the snow and prolonged ground frost during the winter months that can hold up play.

It is therefore guaranteeing rounds of golf on the Championship Ailsa and Kintyre courses, for individuals pre-booked prior to any course closure notification, against closure from 1 November 2010 to 31 March 2011. If, due to the weather the course is closed and residents of Turnberry Resort with pre-booked golf are unable to play during their stay, they will receive a complimentary night’s stay with a round on the course originally booked plus an additional round on the Kintyre course.

The legendary Ailsa course hosted the 2009 Open Championship which saw Tom Watson almost re-live Turnberry’s finest Open moment, the famous ‘Duel in the Sun’.

The Ailsa, consistently ranked as the UK and Ireland’s number one course by leading golf publications Golf World and Golf Monthly, underwent a number of enhancements in advance of hosting The 2009 Open.

The course has increased in length to 7,211 yards and the new layout features six new Championship tees and 21 new bunkers.

To book or to view full terms and conditions please telephone 01655 331 000 or visit

For more information on Turnberry, a Luxury Collection Resort Scotland, please visit

Terms and conditions apply

Turnberry, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scotland

Turnberry is located on the stunning Ayrshire coast, offering elevated views over the Irish Sea, Ailsa Craig and mountains of Arran and Kintyre.
First opened in 1906 as the world’s first golf resort, Turnberry quickly established itself as the premier destination for social and sporting events.

The five red star resort underwent a multi-million pound renovation programme prior to hosting the 2009 Open on its legendary Ailsa golf course and becoming part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts much acclaimed Luxury Collection.

The 198 luxuriously appointed guest rooms include four lavish ocean-view suites and offer a perfect blend of Edwardian tradition and timeless design. The iconic Ailsa Course is currently ranked as Britain’s number one golf course by leading golf publications and consistently rated within the world’s best. For golfers, there is also the Championship Kintyre Course and the Arran Course, as well as The Colin Montgomerie Links Golf Academy.

Turnberry is the perfect setting for food lovers, with a choice of unique dining experiences, including the signature restaurant 1906 (pictured above), led by Executive Head Chef Ralph Porciani, which offers classic dishes with a modern twist and a unique Chef’s Table experience. There is also the elegant Grand Tea Lounge, Ailsa Bar & Lounge, Duel in the Sun bar (pictured below) and Tappie Toorie restaurant overlooking the links golf courses and sea beyond.

Turnberry has a well-established reputation for top class meeting and events facilities, specialising in bespoke boardroom experiences. There is also a luxurious spa offering a range of ESPA treatments. The onsite Outdoor Activity Centre offers guests a variety of distinguished outdoor activities including quad biking, horse-riding, fishing and off-road driving.

For more information, please visit

Turnberry, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scotland is a founder member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


About The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts

The Luxury Collection® is a selection of hotels and resorts offering unique, authentic experiences that evoke lasting, treasured memories. For the global explorer, The Luxury Collection offers a gateway to the world’s most exciting and desirable destinations. Each hotel and resort is a unique and cherished expression of its location; a portal to the destination’s indigenous charms and treasures. Magnificent décor, spectacular settings, impeccable service and the latest modern conveniences combine to provide a uniquely enriching experience.

Today, The Luxury Collection is a glittering ensemble of more than 70 of the world’s finest hotels and resorts in more than 30 countries in bustling cities and spectacular destinations around the world. The Luxury Collection includes award-winning hotels that continuously exceed guest expectations by offering unparalleled service, style and class in some of the most desired destinations in the world.

Most recently, Mystique, a Luxury Collection Resort, was honoured with the 2008 Travel + Leisure Design Award for Best Small Resort in the world. All of these hotels, many of them centuries old, are internationally recognized as being among the world’s finest.

For more information, please visit

About Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1000 properties in nearly 100 countries and territories with 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties.

Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft®, and Element SM.

Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts.

For more information, please visit

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There are currently 803 Ayrshire business stories permanently archived on this site. To locate those of most interest to you, please use the site search facility in the top right hand corner of this page.

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