THE ROBERT Burns Birthplace and McKechnie museums are always steeped in Scottish heritage, but last week a particularly significant historical figure had a presence at both as public workshops were held on South Ayrshire’s Bruce Trail.
An Association of South Ayrshire Community Councils (ASACC) project, the trail will root the county’s linkages to Bruce into a network spanning from north to south, and connecting to the existing Robert the Bruce Trail in Dumfries and Galloway.
And last week the region’s citizens got the chance to comment on provisional plans and bring their own ideas to the table as community sessions were held in Alloway and Girvan.
As well as sites in Ayr, Prestwick and Dundonald, Carrick towns and villages including Maybole, Girvan, Maidens, Kirkoswald, Barr, and Ballantrae are expected to feature on the trail, with locations and objects including Bruce’s birthplace, site of baptism, and camp and court sites all identified.
A variety of local groups were represented, including Girvan Primary School P6s (pictured above), Opportunities in Retirement, and Ballantrae Development Group - a sub-committee of the village’s community council – whose secretary Andy McAlpine said he was impressed by the plans so far.
“There is a very clear description of what they are trying to achieve here, and I would like to do what I can on behalf of the group to support it.
“Hopefully we can work together to raise the profile of Ballantrae to tourists, attracting them to come to the area and, more importantly, to come back.”
Trail consultant Sarah Crome, who also worked on the Dumfries and Galloway Trail, said she was impressed with the local engagement on the project.
“This was the part of Scotland that Bruce knew the most, and yet this is about starting with a clean sheet because there is nothing on the ground,” she said.
“We are picking up lots of information, and there are some really interesting stories that have come out at the workshops.”
Comments gathered from the exhibition days will help shape a formal plan and project objectives, after which the first stage of the trail itself – a leaflet highlighting around 20 sites – will be produced.
It is hoped funding will be in place to begin siting way-markers for the South Ayrshire Bruce Trail by the end of 2013.