The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Leading trainers head to Scottish Sun Raceday at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

ENTRIES for the feature race at Scottish Sun Raceday on Saturday (24 June) include horses from a host of leading stables.

Trainers likely to be represented on the big day include Roger Varian, Richard Fahey, Charlie Hills, Mark Johnston, David O’Meara, Hugo Palmer and Willie Haggas.

The feature race on Saturday’s card, the Scottish Sun/British Stallion Studs EBF Land O’Burns Fillies’ Stakes, a class 1 Listed Race, has attracted 18 entries including Gorane from the Henry de Bromhead stable in Ireland – a yard normally associated with jumps racing.

This three year-old was second in a Listed race at Navan in April and followed that with a fourth in the Group 3 Lackey Stakes at Naas, a race won by the brilliant Aidan O’Brien trained colt Caravaggio a horse that is unbeaten in all five starts. Gorane was beaten under seven lengths that day and that form would give him a real chance in the Land O’Burns.

Other eye-catching entries include Willie Hag gas’s Gravity Flow, second in a  Listed contest at Newmarket last October, Clive Cox’s Lady Macapa and the Richard Fahey trained pair Mayfair Lady and Queen Kindly.

Scotland’s hopes could rest with Mayleaf Shine, having his second run for Iain Jardine and formerly trained in Ireland by Joseph Murphy. This is a lightly raced filly and expect ‘Scobie’ to have her primed for a huge effort.

The main supporting race on Saturday is the £30,000 Scottish Sun On Sunday Champion Handicap for the Johnstone Rosebowl and I like the look of Roger Varian’s Morando in this.

This four year-old gelding won in a similar grade at last September’s William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival and although he will have to give weight to most of his rivals as he runs off 104 he could be very hard to beat.

 To book tickets or for more information on racing at Ayr please call 01292 264179 or go online at

For further information please contact 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.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Sun shines on South Ayrshire's beach standards

Environmental charity, Keep Scotland Beautiful, has announced that three beaches from across South Ayrshire have been recognised for the high standards provided to users - from keeping sand litter free to providing excellent information and accessible amenities.

[Pictured: Troon beach was one of three recognized.]

Signalling the start of the traditional Scottish bathing season on 1st June, with families set to flock to Scottish shorelines to make the most of the warm weather, the Scottish Beach Awards celebrate some of the best managed beaches in the country and has acted as the national benchmark for local environmental quality around Scotland's coastline for a quarter of a century.

Flags from the 2017 awards will, from next week, be flying at 60 beaches the length and breadth of Scotland, including Ayr, Maidens, and Troon.

A full regional list and breakdown of award winners can be found HERE.

Keep Scotland Beautiful chief executive Derek Robertson commented: "The Scottish Beach Awards set the standard for our stunning coastlines and inland shores - making sure that they are litter free, provide excellent facilities for families and encourage more visitors to our beautiful beaches.

"Going to the beach is a tradition that we want to continue, whilst protecting this valuable environment. It is vital that we maintain our support for organisations efforts to ensure that South Ayrshire's coastlines offer a great day out whilst recognising the wider benefits of a good quality environment for people's health and wellbeing and local economies."

Having started out as the Scottish Seaside Awards in 1993 with only two entrants, the Scottish Beach Awards have gone from strength to strength - increasing 30 fold in the past 25 years.

Mike Newall, South Ayrshire Council's Head of Neighbourhood Services said: "South Ayrshire is famous for its coast and it's great to see Ayr, Maidens, and Troon recognised with these national awards for clean, well-managed and sustainable beaches.

"The help of the public is something that makes a real difference. By taking away litter, cleaning up dog waste, and not feeding seagulls, we can all reduce waste and make it easy for people to enjoy their day by the seaside.

"We also work closely with organisations including the Scottish Environment Protection Agency to monitor the quality of bathing water and provide the public with relevant information in the summer months."

With domestic visits to seaside locations in Scotland worth over £3m per annum to the Scottish economy, the awards serve as a quality benchmark for the provision of facilities to visitors - from assessing toilet provision to the maintenance of beautiful promenades and the cleanliness of secluded bays.

Focussing on local environmental quality, the award is designed to complement the work currently undertaken by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency on bathing water quality.

A map showing all the award-winning beaches with directions, facilities and images can be found at 

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Jockey Andrea Atzeni to make debut at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

JOCKEY Andrea Atzeni flies north tomorrow (Wednesday 24 May) for his debut mount at Ayr Racecourse and his only ride of the day on Nezwaah in the £50,000 Class 1 Listed Tennent’s British Stallion Studs EBF Rothesay Stakes.

[Pictured: Maleficent Queen won the race last year.]

The Roger Varian trained four year-old filly holds entries in the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh in July and is making his seasonal reappearance tomorrow in the one mile two furlong contest.

A winner of a Listed race on the all-weather course at Newcastle last June, Nezwaah finished last year running in a Grade 1 at Woodbine in Canada where finished down the field. She is the highest rated of the six runners today with her chief danger Maleficent Queen form the Keith Dalgleish yard who won the inaugural running of the race last year.

Another notable runner is Pure Art, trained by Ralph Beckett in Andover and the mount of Fran Berry.

The main supporting race on the card is the Guinness Handicap over five furlongs and Jim Goldie will run Tommy G a winner at the track earlier in the month while Keith Dalgleish saddles Dark Defender.

The opening race is the EBF Stallion Appletiser Novice Stakes at 2.20pm which has attracted a field of 11 runners including Mark Johnston’s Noble Manners, second at Beverley earlier in the month.

There are eight races on the card and gates are open at 12.20pm.

For further information please contact 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, 5 May 2017

South Ayrshire Council Election 2017 results

28 councillors have now been elected to serve the people of South Ayrshire following the 2017 Scottish Council Election.

[Pictured: South Ayrshire Councillors line up for 
the frst time after the 2017 results were announced.]

* The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party returned 12 Elected Members
* Scottish National Party returned 9 Elected Members
* Scottish Labour Party returned 5 Elected Members
* 2 Independent Elected Members were also returned
* b The Elected Members returned for each ward are detailed below:

WARD 1 – Troon

Peter Convery (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Bob Pollock (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Craig MacKay (Scottish National Party)
Philip Saxton (Scottish Labour Party)
Turnout: 57.2%

WARD 2 - Prestwick

Ian Cochrane (Scottish National Party)
Hugh Hunter (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Margaret Toner (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Helen Moonie (Scottish Labour Party)
Turnout: 55.1%

WARD 3 – Ayr North

Laura Brennan-Whitefield (Scottish National Party)
Ian Davis (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Ian Cavana (Scottish Labour Party)
Douglas Campbell (Scottish National Party)
Turnout: 39.6%

WARD 4 - Ayr East

Mary Kilpatrick (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Brian McGinley (Scottish Labour Party)
Chris Cullen (Scottish National Party)
Turnout: 51.5%

WARD 5 - Ayr West

Martin Dowey (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Siobhian Brown (Scottish National Party)
Lee Lyons (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Derek McCabe (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Turnout: 59.4%

WARD 6 - Kyle

Arthur Spurling (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Andy Campbell (Scottish Labour Party)
Julie Dettbarn (Scottish National Party)
Turnout: 48.7%

WARD 7 – Maybole, North Carrick & Coylton

Iain Campbell (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
William Grant (Scottish National Party)
Brian Connolly (Independent)
Turnout: 48.1%

WARD 8 - Girvan and South Carrick

Alec Clark (Independent)
Ian Fitzsimmons (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)
Peter Henderson (Scottish National Party)
Turnout: 52.3%

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle NEXT MEETING

We are delighted to cordially invite you to attend the next (re-arranged) Elite Ayrshire Business Circle business breakfast networking event, which will take place at 8am on Thursday 18 May in the clubhouse of Dundonald Links golf course. Dundonald Links will play proud host to the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open & Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open in July.

At our meeting, European Tour commercial manager Bob Gordon will preview these events, which are an exciting coup for Ayrshire, and which will undoubtedly provide a substantial boost for the local economy.

In addition, members will be given the opportunity to give a mini- presentation of 5-10 minutes to the meeting, outlining recent successes and achievements. If you would like to showcase your company at the meeting, please e-mail

Finally, our meeting will afford the usual excellent opportunity ty informally network with other top Ayrshire business people, and a complimentary buffet breakfast will be served.

Everybody attending this meeting will be given priority booking rights to the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle Annual Summer Luncheon at Turnberry in July.

In order to facilitate catering arrangements, please RSVP your reply to this invitation to:

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle
Norman Geddes (Executive Chairman)
Murdoch MacDonald (CEO)

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Vicente makes Scottish Grand National history at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

SAM Twiston-Davies and Vicente wrote their names into the record books at Ayr Racecourse last Saturday, becoming the first jockey and horse combination in 32 years to win back-to-back Coral Scottish Grand Nationals.

[Pictured: Vicente puts in a spectacular leap on his way to winning 
the 2017 Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr Racecourse.]

After falling at the first at Aintree two weeks ago, Vicente came to Ayr a fresh horse running at a track he obviously loves, and he travelled superbly throughout.

Turning into the home straight it just looked a matter of how far but up ahead Cogry, ironically trained by Sam’s father Nigel and ridden by his friend Jamie Bargary, wasn’t going down without a battle and fought all the way to the line with the winning margin only a neck.

Trainer Paul Nicholls was delighted to win the race for a second successive year and for the third time in all, and the £122,400 first prize edged him closer to Nicky Henderson in the trainers’ championship.

The closest finish over the two days came in the QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle with Chesterfield, trained by Seamus Mullins and ridden by 23 year-old conditional rider Dan Sansom wearing down the Paul Nicholls trained Zubayr by a short head.

It was a particularly strong renewal of the race with L’Ami Serge, who finished fifth and Sceau Royal (ninth) setting the standard running off a BHA mark of 155.

The Jordan Electrics Ltd Future Champion Chase was won by the Malcolm Jefferson trained, Brian Hughes ridden Cloudy Dream who came late and fast to beat Theinval by two lengths. This was an impressive performance from a horse who had been an unlucky second in the previous year’s QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle.

Another Saturday winner who caught the eye was the Nicky Henderson trained Vaniteaux and ridden by Noel Fehily who was much too good for his rivals in the Listed Scotty Brand Handicap Chase coming home five lengths clear of Romain De Senam.

The Listed Hillhouse Quarry Chase with £50,000 in prize-money attracted horses from several leading southern stables and Dan Skelton’s Two Taffs had the race in the bag a long way out under a very confident Dan Skelton ride.

Two Taffs was following up a win in a hurdle race at the meeting last year.

For further information please contact 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.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Grass roots restoration takes Ayr Esplanade back to its former glory

A project to reinstate badly eroded verges along Ayr Esplanade is breathing fresh life into the area. South Ayrshire Council has restored the embankment along the raised walkway, with tall grass now knitting the soil together and protecting Low Green from the unpredictable weather blowing in from the beach.

Durable Marram grass has been planted along the 
esplanade boundary to protect Low Green from the elements.

In recent years, the one mile stretch of grass verge between Pavilion Road and Blackburn Drive has been cut away by strong winds, storms, and sand being blown in from the coast, with some sections having been driven back by several feet.

The newly restored verge will help to prevent future erosion.

In the first phase of the restoration project the worst affected parts along the stretch from the play area to midway along Low Green have now been restored, with fresh earth packed in along the boundary, and with long Marram grass, commonly found in sand dunes, planted to help knit the soil together, protecting the boundary.

Mike Newall, South Ayrshire Council’s Head of Neighbourhood Services said the work would help protect the area for years to come, “Ayr beach remains a popular place in the summer months, but fierce winds and shifting sands have eroded the verge over time.

“To protect the area in the years ahead we’ve created a new boundary along the esplanade and planted durable beach grass, helping to bond the earth together.

“This sustainable method to reinstate the front also offers protection against Ayrshire’s sometimes challenging weather, and means we’ll soon see the embankment restored to its former glory.”

This is another sustainable project from South Ayrshire Council which was recently recognised for its restoration work, with the Troon Dune Restoration programme having won a number of awards in 2016, including the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee’s 'Best waste minimisation or prevention project' award.

The second phase of work will form part of the winter programme for 2017/18.

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

South Ayrshire schoolboy makes history at Hampden Park

Lauchlan Connelly (13) from Prestwick Academy was on the pitch at Hampden for Scotland’s World Cup qualifier against Slovenia recently but he was not a mascot, or even a ballboy, Lauchlan was making history becoming the first ever person to sign the national anthem at a Scotland International football match.

It was a memorable night for Lauchlan (pictured above), who signed his way perfectly through “Flower of Scotland” despite being in front of thousands of fans and live on TV!

He said: “It was the best experience of my life so far. It was nerve-wracking but exciting too. I was scared and took a deep breath and when I looked down I saw the camera and felt like a superstar”

Lauchlan first learned sign language at primary school and although he has no problem speaking, he wanted to make sure he could communicate with other deaf people. 

Douglas Hutchison, Director of Educational Services at South Ayrshire Council said: “Congratulations to Lauchlan, it was a great experience for him and he did very well despite the nerves. We are always keen to support our young people to realise their ambitions and there should be no barriers to this. I would like to thank our hearing impairment team for their support and the SFA for arranging this special moment.” 

Lauchlan could well become Scotland’s lucky talisman! He has been asked to sign the national anthem at the next 3 home games against England, Malta and Slovakia in October.

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

National Excellence Accolade for Ayr Racecourse

Ayr Racecourse has been named as one of the top racing venues course in the UK in a national awards scheme, one of only 15 tracks to be awarded Racecourse Association (RCA) Excellence Awards.

[Pictured: Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown.]

And Scotland’s premier racecourse was also one of two courses to be bestowed with a “Lovely Loos” Accolade in recognition of the cleanliness and overall standard of its lavatories.

Ayr also retained its five-star VisitScotland visitor attraction status.

For the eighth year the Racecourse Association has operated its Quality Assured Racecourse Scheme, which allows every UK racecourse to be assessed and rated against other tourism attractions, in partnership with tourism bodies VisitScotland and VisitEngland .

The national tourism boards provide a rating on the racecourses as a quality day out, taking into account efficiency and friendliness of customer service, cleanliness of facilities and friendliness of customer service, cleanliness of facilities as well as speed, quality and efficiency of the racecourse operation.

Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown commented: “We are thrilled to receive this national recognition which reflects well on the team here at Ayr.

“It is encouraging to be given this award as we prepare for our busiest meeting of the year in just over three weeks’ time, the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival, with the Saturday certain to be a sell-out once more.

“It gives us renewed confidence to know our efforts are being recognised in this way.”

RCA chief executive Stephen Atkin added: “British Racecourses have demonstrated that they offer a  fun, exciting and value for money day out when compared to other attractions.”

For further information please contact 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.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Ayrshire artists rub shoulders with established names for annual showcase

Art lovers across South Ayrshire are being invited to see work from a range of diverse and inspiring artists at Arts of Rozelle in Ayr this Spring. Three exhibitions will fill Rozelle House, and the Maclaurin Galleries from Sunday 26 March.

Following on from the phenomenal response from visitors to the Alexander Goudie exhibition of ‘Tam o’ Shanter’, the spotlight is shifting to focus on the work of Glasgow artist, Frank McFadden (pictured above), a retrospective of the work of Yvonne Hawker (pictured below), and new work from the Open Studios Ayrshire.

Supported by the Council, and in partnership with the Maclaurin Trust, these three exhibitions represent the work of artists working and living in South Ayrshire, emerging new talents, while being mindful of those no longer with us.

About the artists

Open Studios Ayrshire. At Rozelle House the Galleries will be filled with the works of members of Open Studios Ayrshire. This is a non-profit organisation representing artists and makers working throughout Ayrshire. Their main annual event being ‘Open Studios’ 21st -24th April 2017, work is being exhibited from each member at the annual showcase.

Frank McFadden. In the Maclaurin Galleries, Frank McFadden, a brilliant artist and protégée of Peter Howson, puts on his first ever solo exhibition. ‘Metanoia’ explores one of Frank’s favourite expressions “there is no system or formulae for a happy fulfilling life!” His work suggests we start simple, with the truth; we are more alike than unalike.

Yvonne Hawker. Also in the Maclaurinn, this retrospective  remembers the work and life of Yvonne Hawker, who died in 2001. Yvonne was inspired by South Ayrshire and the exhibition reflects on her beautiful ethereal work, featuring examples on loan from her family, friends and patrons. The exhibition also reveals work created during her time in Hong Kong, her interest in the religious beliefs of the Cathars, and her illness and untimely death.

Additionally at Rozelle House, 19 paintings, from the phenomenally successful Goudie exhibition of Tam o’ Shanter have been selected to remain on show as part of the permanent collection. They still tell the tale to great effect, showing Goudie’s observation and skill in bringing to life the energy and pace to the well-known local story.

Jill Cronin, South Ayrshire Council’s Head of Enterprise, Development and Leisure said the event provided a great platform for talent old and new, “We’re committed to supporting the arts in South Ayrshire and this year’s programme is testament to some of the inspiring events we have on offer.

“With artists such as Frank McFadden, exhibiting alongside Open Studios Ayrshire, this benefits our own local artists, who will be given a great opportunity to learn from established talent.

“Coming hot on the heels of the runaway success of our Alexander Goudie Tam o’ Shanter exhibition, we’re confident this latest addition to the cultural calendar will prove to be a big hit in the coming weeks.”

The Open Studios Ayrshire showcase will be followed up by the Open Studios Ayrshire’s much anticipated Weekend Event which takes place between 21-24 April this year. Artists and makers throughout Ayrshire will open the doors to their studios or shared venues to share their practice and work with the public. Four Artists – Sandra Ratcliffe, Christine Logan, John Atkins and Jim Gourlay - will be working in Rozelle House over that weekend.

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Trainers’ championship showdown at Coral Scottish Grand National Festival

By: Iain Ferguson

SCOTLAND’S biggest and richest race meeting the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival will, for the second year running, feature a ‘showdown’ for the British jumps trainers’ championship.

But this year it is Nicky Henderson, currently £150,000 ahead, who is challenging champion Paul Nicholls and not Willie Mullins who ran the champ so close last year.

[Pictured: Trainer Paul Nicholls and jockey Sam Twiston-Davies celebrate last year’s Coral Scottish Grand National win when Vicente triumphed.]

In fact Nicholls virtually clinched the title in 2016 by winning the Coral Scottish Grand National with Vicente, and is targeting the £122,000 first prize this year with Arpege D’Alene - fourth in the JT McNamara National Hunt Challenge Cup at Cheltenham last week.

Like Vicente, a seven year-old, Arpege D’Alene is part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, and the Ayr race has long been his target.

The Coral Scottish Grand National is the second richest race behind the Grand National, still to be run for this season, so will play a pivotal part in the trainers’ race.

Both Nicholls and Henderson are likely to have runners in the four Class 1 contests at the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival, which include the QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle which carries a winners’ prize of almost £60,000.

Scotland’s richest race meeting takes place on Friday 21 April and Saturday 22 April and tickets are selling fast.

The Saturday card has sold out in advance for the last two years and will undoubtedly do so again this year. For more information and to book tickets go online at or call 01292 264179.

For further information please contact 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.

South Ayrshire Council flies flags at half-mast

Flags at South Ayrshire Council’s headquarters – County Buildings in Ayr – are flying at half-mast today (23 March) to commemorate the terrorist attack in London yesterday and to honour the injured and those who lost their lives.

South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie said: “Yesterday’s events in London were a senseless and unwarranted attack on the freedom, democracy and values that we hold dear within the United Kingdom.

“The thoughts and prayers of the people of South Ayrshire are with all those affected, especially those who lost their loved ones.

“It’s shocking that lives could be taken so cruelly as people went about their daily business or – in the case of PC Palmer – doing the job he loved to keep others safe.

“We must stand tall in the face of such attacks and show that we are united and will not allow our values, freedom and humanity to be undermined.”

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Jockey Brian Hughes and trainer Nick Alexander on fine form at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

BRIAN Hughes rode five winners while trainer Nick Alexander saddled four horses to win over Ayr’s two-day March meeting recently.

Hughes bagged a treble at Tennent’s Raceday on Saturday to add to his brace on Friday.

His Saturday successes came on Desert Cry, a horse co-owned by Sunderland boss Davie Moyes, in the Craigie Cup, Lochnell (pictured above) in the mares’ handicap hurdle over two miles five furlongs and Calix Delafayette in the national hunt flat race.

On Friday Brian rode Marlee Massie and Gold Opera to victories for Nick Alexander who also won with Another Mattie on Friday and The Bishop on Saturday.

Borders trainer Stuart Coltherd recorded a double success on Friday with Hurricane Rita winning the two mile four and a half furlong handicap hurdle followed by Surprise Vendor in the two mile hurdle. Both horses were ridden by Stuart’s son Sam.

And Lucinda Russell was on target with Vertigo, evens favourite, ridden by Alexander Thorne, an impressive winner of the two mile five furlong maiden hurdle on Friday while she saddled Imjoeking to win on Saturday.

Ayr’s next meeting is the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival on Friday 21 April and Saturday 22 April. For more information and to book tickets call 01292 264179 or go online at

For further information please contact 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.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Star Wars, Elephants and Fingal's Cave! 'Fantastic' schools orchestra concert

Budding musicians from South Ayrshire schools came together to perform at a sell-out concert last month.

The South Ayrshire Schools Orchestra Concert takes place every year and gives talented youngsters the chance to play in front of a capacity audience at Ayr Town Hall.

Around 250 young musicians amazed the crowd with their talents as they played everything from feature film music to other classical favourites.

The South Ayrshire Schools Strings Orchestra was first on stage; they played a rendition of The Final Countdown which was a hit for Europe back in 1986. The orchestra which features 120 musicians (P4 – P7) from primary schools across South Ayrshire then followed this up with the impressive New World Symphony by Dvorak.

The next performance was from the South Ayrshire Schools Symphony Orchestra which is made up of 80 pupils (S1 – S6) from a number of our secondary schools. Conducted by Elaine Rietveld, the orchestra played the enchanting Baby Elephant Walk and then delighted the audience with some Star Wars favourites.

Last to perform was the South Ayrshire Chamber Orchestra which features some of our best young musicians. They did not disappoint as they played the superb Mendelssohn’s Concert Overture ‘Hebrides’ also known as Fingal's Cave. 

Soloists Matthew Terras (S6 – Prestwick Academy) and Sean Morrison (S6 – Queen Margaret Academy) then enthralled the audience with the Concerto for violin and cello in A minor by Brahms. They played faultlessly and it’s no surprise that Sean has been selected to lead the West of Scotland Schools Orchestra later this year.

The Chamber Orchestra’s performance was rounded off with a foot tapping tune from Tchaikovsky and the enthusiastic audience clapped along as the gifted musicians played their hearts out.

There was a surprise for three of the performers on the night.

Naomi Priestnall P7 from Glenburn Primary), Mitchell Lamont S5 from Belmont Academy and Sean Morrison from Queen Margaret Academy, received a special tutors’ award in recognition of their commitment and dedication to their respective orchestras.

The evening was a great success with all the proceeds just over £370 going to the Ayrshire Hospice.

Parent, Joan Brockie said: “Fantastic concert. Thank you to everyone involved.”

Another parent, Jillian Plunkett commented: “Amazing – I was blown away by how great they sounded. Fantastic experience”

Douglas Hutchison, Director of Educational Services at South AAyrshire Council said: “I know the young people taking part had been practising for many weeks and this certainly paid off as their performances were first class. 

“Last year over 1,200 children and young people from our primary and secondary schools received musical instruction. These concerts are a tribute to our outstanding instrumental music service and a great way of inspiring our young people to even greater heights as well as building confidence at the same time.”

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Friday, 10 March 2017

CKD Galbraith offers for sale contemporary detached Ayrshire country house

Leading independent Scottish property consultancy CKD Galbraith is offering for sale The Beeches, a contemporary, detached country house situated about one mile outside the village of Dunlop and overlooking its own grounds of just under two acres. 

The property forms part of a small exclusive development created in 2008 from the original West Langton Farm – a beautiful Georgian farmhouse and steading – with each property being detached and carefully planned to ensure maximum privacy yet with a neighbourly feel.

The accommodation of The Beeches is on one level and finished to an exacting standard. 

The living room has a high vaulted ceiling with skylight windows pulling in natural sunlight and a log burning stove. 

The kitchen is equally impressive. Lots of windows ensure the room is bright and at almost 24 feet in length there is plenty of scope for relaxed entertaining. The white wooden units are complimented by a silver range cooker and a chunky sleeper beam separates the kitchen from the dining area. There is a separate utility room. 

The Beeches has four double bedrooms. All have fitted wardrobes and easy access to a nearby bath or shower room. The master bedroom is ensuite and also has a dressing room.

The gardens of The Beeches are landscaped and face west with panoramic views towards the Isle of Arran, Ailsa Craig and on a clear day the peaks of Ben Lomond. A level lawn surrounds the house interspersed with mature trees and is a haven for playing children. The courtyard at the rear of the house is shared with two properties nearby. Adjacent is a paddock of about 1.4 acres which is well fenced and providing excellent grazing. There is also a single garage.

Offers Over £425,000 are being sought. 

PDF available on

About CKD Galbraith

CKD Galbraith is an independent property consultancy employing 236 staff in offices across Scotland including Edinburgh, Stirling, Perth, Cupar, Inverness, Castle Douglas, Ayr, Elgin, Galashiels, Kelso, and Aberdeen, offering local knowledge, national expertise and enjoying international reach.

The firm is Scotland’s largest and leading rural consultancy managing and providing advice on farm, forestry, land and estate interests on over three million acres. CKD Galbraith provides the full range of property consulting services across the residential, commercial, rural and renewable energy sectors throughout Scotland and northern England.

CKD Galbraith 
7 Killoch Place 
Ayr KA7 2EA 

Contact: R A Cherry BSc MRICS 
Tel: 01292 268181 
Fax: 01292 292300 
To find out more about CKD Galbraith visit

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

Friday, 3 March 2017

Full steam ahead as demolition begins on Ayr’s Riverside site

Plans to breathe new life in to Ayr's historic town centre are now officially underway. Contractors have moved onto the site on the town's High Street as they prepare a number of buildings for demolition, paving the way towards the construction of a new Riverside Block.

[Pictured left to right: South Ayrshire Councillors Kirsty Darwent, Bill Grant and Council Leader Bill McIntosh mark the start of demolition work at Ayr’s Riverside site.] 

Since 2013 Ayr Renaissance has been acquiring the properties on the Riverside block - the area of vacant properties around the former Woolworths building. This process was completed in 2016 and a master plan for its redevelopment formed. This masterplan was approved by South Ayrshire Council last week giving the green-light for demolition to commence.

The masterplan sets a vision for a high quality mixed-use development including quality office accommodation as well as space for niche retail units, cafes, restaurants and public engagement. The plan sets out a commitment to top quality design sympathetic to existing historic buildings and the surrounding conservation area.

The demolition contract has been awarded, after an open tendering process, to George Beattie Ltd of Kilsyth. It is a 40 week contract and includes provision for archaeological investigations to be carried out by Rathmell Archaeology.

The demolition contract involves the removal of all internal fixtures and fittings, followed by the demolition of all structures with the removal of all debris off site. This will be carried out under the watchful eye of our archaeologists who will ensure anything of historical interest will be identified and recorded. Once the buildings are cleared a series of trenches will be dug across the site to allow further investigation, ensuring anything of archaeological interest is identified and recorded.

James Knox, Chair of Ayr Renaissance said, "We've waited a long time for this day, and I am delighted to see the contractor on site, beginning the preparations for demolition within hours of South Ayrshire Council granting planning consent.

"This is a very complex site to work on; however, we are determined to make progress as fast as possibly so the people of Ayr will see the river from the High Street for the first time in generations.

"We're very excited at the prospect of an archaeological dig which will explore this historic part of Ayr that has lain under concrete for many years."

Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council and AR board member said, "With the hoardings up and work now getting underway I'm proud to be here to mark the first significant milestone for this ambitious project.

"These positive steps will pave the way to a bustling new quarter in Ayr's historic town centre, breathing new life into the area and bringing people back to the riverside.

"Locals and visitors alike will soon see visible signs of progress as the old buildings come down, with the Council's flagship office accommodation project helping to kick-start regeneration plans and bringing benefits to the wider South Ayrshire economy."

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Leading jockeys eye big prizes at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

THERE’S some excellent prize-money for a start of the week fixture at Ayr Racecourse on Monday (27 February) when the seven race card includes two Class 3 contests.

And the £57,000 on offer has attracted some leading jockeys including Tom Scudamore, Brian Hughes, Paddy Brennan and Aidan Colemant to the west coast of Scotland and a really competitive afternoon’s racing is in prospect.

The first of the Class 3s is The Racing UK Now in HD! Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase over two and a half miles due off at 4.15pm, and recent course winner Master Ruffit, trained by Neil McKnight in Northern Ireland, makes the trip over the Irish Sea, but could find another Ayr winner Lucinda Russell’s Newtown Lad a tough nut to crack.

The other feature race run half an hour later is a two and a half mile handicap hurdle, and this looks like being the most open heat of the afternoon. Dan Skelton sends Willow’s Warrior on the 640 mile round trip from his Warwickshire base, but this 10 year-old has questions to answer and Galston trainer Mike Smith’s Strong Economy (pictured above) could follow up a recent win at the track off a light weight.

Leading Flat trainer Mark Johnston saddles Golden Jeffrey in the bumper at 5.15pm, but Sandy Thomson’s McGowan’s Pass caught the eye in a similar race at Ayr last month and is the one to beat.

The first race is at 2.10pm with gates open at 12.10pm.

For further information please contact 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.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

CKD Galbraith offers for sale a beautiful country house with private grounds

Leading independent Scottish property consultancy CKD Galbraith is offering for sale a beautiful country house near Alloway.

Whiteleys is situated amidst prime Ayrshire countryside surrounded by its own land of some thirty acres and sheltered on three sides by mature woodland. The property lies just two miles outside the village of Alloway, well known for it leafy avenues and high value homes.

Historically, Whiteleys was a working farm but has retired gracefully into a comfortable family home. There is a pretty cottage (Stable Cottage) which sits independently and has four double bedrooms all on one level – perfect for additional family members or generating an income as a letting property.

The accommodation of Whiteleys House is well proportioned with bright, spacious rooms all on one level. 

The lounge - almost 30feet in length - has a bay of windows overlooking the gardens and the conservatory which lies off the lounge takes full advantage of the tranquil countryside views. The dining room can be entered from the lounge or the hallway and has a door out to the gardens. 

The kitchen is fitted with a range of shaker style units and has ample room for a breakfasting table or a sociable sitting room. There is also a well-equipped utility room and a shower room adjacent to the kitchen – ideally located for washing muddy hands. 

There are three good sized bedrooms. The master bedroom has excellent storage and a luxurious en suite bathroom. The office, which was created from a former byre, could easily be a large fourth bedroom if required. 

Despite its generous proportions, Whiteleys is both economical and environmentally friendly as the present owners installed a number of solar and hot water panels with a feed in tariff of £1,300 per annum.

The outbuildings of Whiteleys are clean and well maintained. There is a stable block with five good sized stables, a tack room and a large stock shed (120ft). In addition there are various workshops and stores as well as garaging with remote controlled doors. The grazing land is divided into four enclosures and is high quality, fertile land.

Offers Over £850,000 (as whole) are being sought. PDF available on

About CKD Galbraith

CKD Galbraith is an independent property consultancy employing 236 staff in offices across Scotland including Edinburgh, Stirling, Perth, Cupar, Inverness, Castle Douglas, Ayr, Elgin, Galashiels, Kelso, and Aberdeen, offering local knowledge, national expertise and enjoying international reach.

The firm is Scotland’s largest and leading rural consultancy managing and providing advice on farm, forestry, land and estate interests on over three million acres. CKD Galbraith provides the full range of property consulting services across the residential, commercial, rural and renewable energy sectors throughout Scotland and northern England.

CKD Galbraith 
7 Killoch Place 
Ayr KA7 2EA 

Contact: R A Cherry BSc MRICS 
Tel: 01292 268181 
Fax: 01292 292300 
To find out more about CKD Galbraith visit

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

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Green light for transformational plans to breathe new life into Ayr riverside

Ambitious plans to transform a neglected part of Ayr's historic town centre into a thriving new public realm have been approved by South Ayrshire Council. The new masterplan from Ayr Renaissance involves the demolition of a section of High Street to create a new thriving hub.

The masterplan, which involves the regeneration of land between the medieval "Auld Brig" and the Victorian "New Bridge", includes the demolition of the massive retail stores which have blocked access to the river since the 1960s, the creation of landscaped public realm, alongside a festival building and an elegant new waterfront for the town.

The masterplan will deliver a vision for a mixed development including quality office accommodation and housing, as well as space for niche retail units, cafes, restaurants and spaces for public engagement. The plan sets out a commitment to top quality design including the use of materials that relate to existing historic buildings and to an overall scale that respects the surrounding conservation area.

Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council said the decision marked an exciting time, not just for Ayr, but for the whole of South Ayrshire, "I'm very proud we're now at the point when we will see the physical works to regenerate Ayr get underway. This has been a long time coming and marks the start of a whole new era for the town that will create a legacy for generations to come.

"The transformation of this riverside site and the opportunities to open up the river as a feature once again, will breathe new life into the town and will well and truly ensure Ayr is a true destination of choice for living, working and leisure. Ayr has a vibrant and exciting future ahead – and it starts now."

Traditional vennels, in keeping with the existing town centre, will open up informal pedestrian connections throughout the Riverside Block site from all directions; while in the longer term, the River Ayr Walk, which currently ends at the Auld Brig, could continue across the site, running along the river to the sea. The north shore is also part of the plan which will be re-landscaped as part of the framing of a new River Square including the stretch of river flanked by both bridges - with the potential to become the focal point for festivities and events.

James Knox, Chairman of Ayr Renaissance, said: "This decision marks a turning point in the fortunes of Ayr. Decades of blight will be swept away, opening up the river to the locals for the first time in generations.

"Our masterplan offers a humane and beautiful solution to the transformation of this key sight which will act as a magnet for visitors, office workers and inhabitants alike."

The masterplan was prepared by architect Niall McLaughlin, who has worked extensively for Oxford University and the London Olympic Authority, and Charles Jencks, world renowned land artist and co-founder of Maggie's Centres which builds cancer centres designed the world's top architects.

The full application for the Ayr Riverside Block can be found CLICK HERE.

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Friday, 17 February 2017

South Ayrshire Council waste to be transformed by new recycling facility

South Ayrshire councillors had a sneak preview of the new green waste recycling centre in Prestwick last week. 

The new facility will be used by the Council to transform its own green waste such as grass and leaves into usable products like mulch and top dressing soil.

Council staff came up with the idea for the Glenburn Green Waste Recycling Centre and then worked to implement the pilot project. The Council’s grounds maintenance team see many advantages for the centre and will be able to use the composted material in parks and golf courses helping to save £42,324 a year on disposal costs. 

If the pilot is successful, the Council will look to roll out the use of end products such as mulch and top dressing soil in public spaces, reducing the need to purchase these materials in the future.

Councillor John McDowall, Sustainability and Environment Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council was impressed with the facility, he said: “The emphasis these days is very much on reducing waste and reusing as much of it as possible, so this centre ticks all the boxes. 

“Staff came up with the idea and they should be applauded for their innovative thinking and their hard work to get the centre up and running. We will monitor the quality of the material produced as part of this pilot to deal with Council waste, but I am confident the centre will prove its worth.”

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Japan's growing market for Scotch whisky

The value of Scottish food and drink exports to Japan has surged to almost £100 million, strongly supported by the country’s growing taste for Scotch whisky, External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said today.

Latest available export figures show the overall value of food and drink sales to Japan rose by 9% to a record £98.7 million in 2015, compared with £90.3 million in 2014 and £51.63 million in 2007.  Whisky exports account for 77% of the total, with seafood 16.71% of Scotland’s current food and drink exports to Japan. 

Ms Hyslop highlighted the quality and provenance of authentic Scottish produce during a visit to the first ever Scottish food and drink fair at the Isetan Shinjuku Store in Tokyo, which boasts the highest sales of any department store in Japan.

Ms Hyslop said: “Scotland has a fantastic larder of some of the world’s best natural produce, a flair for innovation and a longstanding reputation for producing top quality food and drink – so it is no surprise our food and drink industry is enjoying significant success in the Japanese market.

“A growing appetite in Japan for our whisky has supported a strong surge in the value of food and drinks exports to almost £100 million – the highest on record.

“We are committed to building on this success and strengthening relationships with major food distributors and retailers across Japan. I was delighted to help promote Scottish seafood at Japan’s most prestigious department store today, and look forward to working more closely with Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings and others like them in the future to ensure our produce enjoys continued success in the Japanese market.”

Mr Itazu Takashi, seafood buyer of Isetan Mitsukoshi, said: “We hope customers will enjoy the high quality of Scottish seafood through this promotion, and we hope the unique added value of Scotland produce such as the sustainability of seafood, will inspire them to try it.”


Japan is Scotland’s 13th largest food and drink export market, worth £98.7m million in 2015, up 9% from 2014.

Scotch whisky exports increased by 18% to £75.849 million, making Japan Scotland’s 14th largest market for whisky.

Sources: Overseas Trade Statistics and Regional Trade Statistics

The store visit is part of a programme of activity delivered by Scottish Development International (SDI) and the Scottish Government.

The Cabinet Secretary’s programme of engagements runs from 13 to 17 February in both Tokyo and Nagasaki.

On Monday night, Ms Hyslop held a Business Reception at the British Embassy to promote Scotland as an ideal location for further Japanese investment.

On Tuesday, Ms Hyslop announced Scotland Day will be hosted by Toshima Ward, a cultural hotspot of Tokyo, with a promise venues for Scottish performers on an ongoing basis.

More will be announced throughout the coming week.