14th June 2003 – Excursion to Ayrshire

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At 8:30am on Saturday 14th June 2003, the group left Balerno in a minibus again driven by Ivor Santer and once more organised with the help of Ronnie Crichton’s local Ayrshire knowledge.

Those present, in addition to Ivor, were:

Ken McDonald

Jim Weatherston

Jimmie Dunbar

Carl John

Jim Nixon

Chris Hemmings

They visited Mauchline where the plan was to visit the National Burns Tower

and the cottages to which ‘Let it Blaw’ had recently made a donation towards their refurbishment costs. The Tower was unfortunately closed, so they walked along the row of cottages referring to frequent noticeboards telling the story of Burns’ life in the district. The nearby village of Mauchline was fascinating and full of interest.

The minibus was parked and the group visited Poosie Nansie’s Tavern, for ever remembered as the setting for “The Jolly Beggars.”

They were made very welcome and given a history lesson by the Landlady who, oddly enough, was called Nancy !

From there, they visited the Burns House Museum in Mauchline where, once the curator realised the group were from a Burns Club of some renown, they were given a personal guided tour!

After a long morning in Mauchline, they drove to the Sorn Inn for lunch.

From there, they travelled to Alloway where they visited the National Burns Monument & Gardens

before ending the day at the new National Trust Robert Burns Birthplace Museum where the new “Tam o’ Shanter Experience” proved popular.

They left Burns Country heading back to Balerno. The conversation on the way back turned to why, when Ayrshire appears so well-suited to farming, did Burns have so much trouble with his various efforts on the Land. Ivor, having some professional knowledge of such things, referred to two hundred years of land improvement and drainage. Crossing Eaglesham Moor, he further suggested that in Burns’ time, the Ayrshire land might have been similar to what we see on the Eaglesham Moor route today.

They approached Balerno on Glenbrook Road where they got a wave from Jack McCaig who was in his garden as they drove by. They were back in the village by 7:30pm with one or two ending the day with a refreshment or two in Brows.

This report has been written many years after the journey to Ayrshire, relying on memories that maybe aren’t as sharp as they once were. If you were on this trip, or know of anyone else who was there and/or the trip in 2002, please let any member of the Club Committee know.

Ivor Santer