Bruce on trail home

THE KING is coming to Carrick now that plans to celebrate Robert the Bruce’s South Ayrshire roots have been approved.

Robert the Bruce aficionados have been calling for his Carrick connections to be recognised for some time, but with funding secured in late September and tenders now submitted to carry out the work organisers say a trail could be in place by April 2013.

An Association of South Ayrshire Community Councils project, the trail would connect South Ayrshire’s linkages to Bruce into a network spanning the region from north to south, and connecting to the existing Robert the Bruce Trail in Dumfries and Galloway.

Funding for the project having been secured from South Ayrshire Council’s Community Development Fund, Hadyard Hill Community Benefit Fund, and Carrick Futures at the end of September, the process of appointing a consultant to identify Bruce links across the county is currently underway.

Stuart Lindsay, manager of project administrators Ailsa Horizons, confirmed a consultant is expected to be selected and in place from the three bids received within the fortnight.

Among the Carrick communities expected to feature on the trail are Turnberry, where Robert the Bruce was born and spent much of his childhood; Girvan‘s Knockcushan Street, where he held court in the last few months before he died; Maidens, where he landed to retake the castle from English occupation; and Crossraguel Abbey near Maybole, the family abbey of the earls of Carrick and where Robert the Bruce is believed to have been baptised.

Founder and chief executive of the Ayrshire-based King Robert the Bruce Society, Barry Donnan, said the trail is long overdue.

“It is absolutely brilliant; I’m thrilled,” he said. “South Ayrshire has more than enough sites to have a substantial trail.

“It is going to really bring the tourists in and hopefully boost the economy.”

Mr Donnan said he was confident of the project’s success and hoped it could ultimately extend to include all of Ayrshire, or even the whole of Scotland.