Italian visitors find a way through the ash clouds

Fears of volcanic ash cancelling a trip to Scotland for 50 Italians proved unfounded last week and the visitors from Arco arrived at Prestwick and stayed overnight in the Station Hotel, Ayr.

They were met the next morning by Margaret and Alex Davidson and David Kiltie, members of Maybole Town Twinning Association, before setting off on a whirlwind tour of the area.

Their route took them past Burns Cottage, Dunure, the Electric Brae, where they experienced the full effect of the optical illusion, as their luxury coach freewheeled “uphill”, Turnberry, Kirkoswald and Crossraguel Abbey before then reaching the Capital of Carrick.

Leading the tour, was Lino Rosa, who signed the original Friendship Agreement between Maybole and Arco in 2000.

Trip courier was Allessandro Briscoli, who speaks excellent English, and so could pass on the history of the area as recounted by the local twinners.

Arco is twinned with Maybole’s German twin Schotten and Alessandro’s grandfather signed the original Twinning Agreement between the Italian and German towns in 1960.

Helen McAdam, chairwoman of Maybole Historical Society, had opened Maybole Castle and the visitors viewed a photographic display of Maybole Then and Now and a display by the pupils of Gardenrose Primary 7 titled Maybole in Living Memory.

They then walked up the High Street to the Town Hall for a tour of the Council Chambers and the hall, before heading for Carrick Sports Club for something to eat before setting off to Stirling and a tour round Scotland.

While at the club, Lino presented bottles of something Italian to the Maybole twinners as a token of gratitude for what they had done.

Margaret Davidson, in thanking them for the gifts, said she was sorry their visit was so brief and wished them an enjoyable holiday for the rest of their time to be spent in Scotland.