The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Peppa Pig and George under starter’s orders at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

LOVEABLE children’s television cartoon characters Peppa Pig and her little brother George are coming to Ayr Racecourse!

The cheeky little piggies will be at Ayr Racecourse’s Family Fun Days in July, and will be making five appearances each day - at totepool Armed Forces Family Raceday on Sunday 3 July and at Glasgow Fair Festival Family Raceday on Monday 18 July.

Don’t forget to bring your camera, as there will be photo opportunities with Peppa and George, plus there will be many more attractions for the family - and all children under the age of 16 go free if accompanied by an adult, and all entertainment is also free.

Peppa Pig and George are sure to be a big hit with all the children, and in addition there are many more attractions, including a Beat the Goalie, there will be fun fair rides, face painters, and lots lots more including an equisizer for children to hone their jockey skills.

And a major attraction will be four appearances during both days from a top team of cheerleaders who will also be running workshops during the afternoon to pass on their cheerleading skills.

And on 3 July only there will be a special performance of the popular children’s show The Kosmic Krew.

There are seven races during each afternoon, with the first race on 3 July due off at 2.15 pm and on 18 July at 2.30 pm. Gates open two hours before the first race.

For more information on racing at Ayr go online at or call 01292-264179 and there are tremendous savings of £3 a ticket on bookings made seven or more days in advance.

For more information call Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972 or 07795 565691.

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western house Hotel are founder members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Friday, 17 June 2011

South Ayrshire Council seeks companies with designs on the Gaiety

The planned autumn reopening of the cafe/bar at the iconic Gaiety Theatre in Ayr continues on track this week with invites for tenders for the first phase of the internal restoration works, as well as a call for expressions of interest in the operation of the new cafe/bar facility.

[A site for sore eyes? Contractors look at an artist’s impression of how the Gaiety cafe/bar area will look in the future. CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD FULL-SIZE VERSION.]

This is the latest development in the joint project between South Ayrshire Council and Ayr Gaiety Partnership (AGP) to reopen the Gaiety, which was closed in January 2009.

The Council’s tender process is now underway for the first phase of the internal restoration works, which will be funded by the Council’s capital programme, and will focus on the café/bar area on the ground floor as well as some upgrading of the first floor performance space.

The works will be based on designs completed by the McLennan Partnership, which was appointed as the design team for the development of the cafe/bar and box office facilities in March.

Subject to the conclusion of the tender process, work is expected to start on site towards the end of July.

At the same time, Ayr Gaiety Partnership is seeking expressions of interest from companies/individuals keen to take over the running the café/bar once it is operational. By starting the process now, the Partnership hopes to ensure these exciting new facilities are open to the public as soon as possible after the completion of the capital works.

[Pictured left to right: Councillors Elaine Little, Ann Galbraith, Council Leader Bill McIntosh, Douglas Campbell, Provost Winifred Sloan, Margaret Toner, Robin Reid, architect Stephen Innes, John Allan, Roddy Macdonald, South Ayrshire Council’s Head of Community Development and Bill Grant check out the new designs for the cafe/bar during a visit to the Gaiety. Councillor Margaret Toner is the Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure, with responsibility Arts and Culture. Councillors John Allan, Douglas Campbell and Ann Galbraith are members of the Ayr Gaiety Steering Group. Councillors Bill Grant, Elaine Little and Robin Reid represent the Ayr West ward, in which the Gaiety Theatre is situated.]

Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: “Things are really starting to move at the Gaiety now, and the works on the cafe/bar and the opening of the same later in the year will provide a truly tangible and visible sign of the extensive progress being made by the Council and the Partnership to reopen this iconic facility.

“I’m sure this will generate a real buzz in the town and get lots of people excited about what has still to come, with the ultimate aim of getting people through the doors for a theatrical performance as soon as possible.

“Our ambition – subject to the external funding required – is still to see the Gaiety fully operational by the end of the year and, with this latest development, we are well on our way.”

Ian Welsh, Chair of Ayr Gaiety Partnership, added: “The opening of the cafe/bar is a major step forward in the journey to reopen the Gaiety, and I am thrilled we are now at this important stage.

“When the cafe/bar opens, members of the public will – for the first time since the closure – have access once again to a part of the Gaiety, and that will be an historic moment.

“We hope there is a lot of interest in taking on the operational side of the cafe/bar and becoming part of the new Gaiety, which we hope will become the heart of the centre of cultural activities in South Ayrshire.”

For further information regarding the proposed catering operation or to register your interest with Ayr Gaiety Partnership, visit
Expressions of interest must be submitted by midnight on Thursday 30 June.


South Ayrshire Council is a founder member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Reconstructed 15th century castle for sale in East Ayrshire

Savills and CKD Galbraith are jointly marketing Aiket Castle, near Dunlop in Ayrshire, a wonderful reconstruction of a 15th century tower house. The painstaking work, undertaken by the present owners and completed in 1979, took three years. In 1987 Europa Nostra awarded the restoration a Diploma of Merit.

The present building on the site dates originally from the mid 15th century when it was a simple tower-house, owned by the Cunninghame family. In 1586 Alexander Cunninghame of Aiket was “shot near his own house at Aiket” for his part in the murder of the Earl of Eglington, not before he had accused his wife of attempting to poison him and murdered another neighbour, Sir John Mure of Caldwell. Members of the family were declared rebels and they lost possession of their property. The castle was rebuilt by Cunninghame’s widow in 1592, in the late 16th century style, once she got repossession. The topographer, Timothy Pont, described it in about 1600 as “a prettie duelling”. New owners in the 18th century remodelled it as a gentleman’s residence and removed the tower. By the 19th century it had been reduced to a farmhouse and in the late 1950s the cows lived on the ground floor, the tenants on the first and the chickens on the second!

In 1957 there was a disastrous fire and the castle lay in ruins until purchased and restored in the 1970s by the current owners. Over a three year period, the unsound upper walls were demolished and rebuilt to the early 17th century silhouette. The outer walls were rebuilt in brick, using an exceptionally hard, local brick and restoring all the important features. Window margins were rebuilt in stone, as were crow steps and chimney heads, left exposed after the building was harled. An inner wall delineated the face of the original five feet thick rubble wall, with stone fireplaces, window arches and stone flagged floors.

The restored castle stands on a rock outcrop on the banks of the River Glazert, which flows through the gardens and grounds, at one point only a few feet from the foot of the castle, creating a delightful setting. The house is approached from the minor public road along a private drive through an avenue and extensive gardens. There is a stone archway into a fine gravelled courtyard, enclosed by the barmkin wall, the castle and the attached 18th century cottage. In its restoration, considerable sensitivity and effort was put into combining original 15th and 16th century features with modern living requirements, to create a really comfortable and surprisingly spacious country house. There is an efficient under floor heating on the stone flagged ground and first floor floors, double glazed astragalled windows, some with working shutters, and a magnificent Great Hall with an impressive stone fireplace and huge load bearing wooden beams. The house has six bedrooms and eight cloakrooms, bathrooms, toilets or shower rooms. The four storey tower could be easily divided from the cottage to create two separate dwellings, with three reception rooms, kitchen and four bedrooms in the main house and two public rooms, kitchen, two bedrooms and conservatory in the cottage.

The extensive gardens do much to complement the castle. A plantsman’s paradise, they are beautifully laid out, with a spring garden, a woodland garden, a summer garden with two large oval ponds, and a large stone flagged terraced area to the south of the castle, sloping down to the Glazert River, creating a natural amphitheatre, where plays are sometimes performed. The river divides the garden so that from the formal areas near the castle there are stunning views of the wilder and more natural landscape on the other side.

Across the river is a former stone mill which has been partially repaired. The intention is to create a separate dwelling house, subject to the necessary planning and building consents being obtained. There is evidence of the former dam, mill lade and mill race. The "lands of Aiket" today extend to a total of about 95 acres, of which about 8 acres are the castle, gardens, paddock, policies and mill. There are about 56 acres of grazing land, 26 acres of amenity woodland and shelter belts and several acres of more recently established woodland. The grazing land has been farmed in hand or occasionally let out for seasonal grazing. There is also a small farm steading.

Bob Cherry, partner at CKD Galbraith said: “Aiket Castle is a fantastic property of grand stature in a beautifully private estate. It offers prospective purchasers the opportunity to buy into a little bit of history whilst presenting the prospect of becoming the king of your very own Scottish castle.”

Peter Gillespie of Savills comments: “The owners did a fantastic job when they rescued Aiket Castle from a ruin. Rather than just recreating an old building, they used their imagination and talent to make themselves a comfortable and surprisingly practical home, where they have lived for the past 40 years. The gardens have equally been a labour of love and are quite exceptional.”

Aiket Castle is available as a whole or in two lots. However, Lot 2 is only available for sale to the purchaser of Lot 1 and will not be sold separately.

Lot 1: Aiket Castle with adjoining cottage, gardens extending to about 5 acres and a 3 acre paddock - offers over £700,000.

Lot 2: Aiket Mill and about 89 acres including farm buildings, 53 acres of grazing land and 33 acres of woodland and banking - offers over £400,000.

About CKD Galbraith:

CKD Galbraith is an independent property consultancy specialising in serving the needs of private clients. It employs over 180 people in offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth, Cupar, Inverness, Aberfeldy, Castle Douglas, Ayr, Elgin, Galashiels, Kelso and Peebles.

The partnership provides the full range of property consulting services across the commercial, residential and rural sectors throughout Scotland. The company enjoys a successful relationship with its associate firm in London, CKD Kennedy Macpherson.

The company’s rural arm specialises in farm sales and purchases, the management and sale of large estates and woodland, valuations and building surveying work.

CKD Galbraith
7 Killoch Place
Ayr KA7 2EA
Ayrshire, Scotland
Contact: R A Cherry BSc MRICS

Tel: 01292 268181
Fax: 01292 292300

CKD Galbraith’s Ayr Office is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.