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Ayrshire should follow Euro example and promote a Mackintosh trail

YOUR article on the Charles Rennie Mackintosh trail in southern France/northern Catalonia highlights a stark difference between the tourism development culture of that area and Scotland ("French connection: Mackintosh celebrated with trail", The Herald, November 12).

While Mackintosh, pictured, is enthusiastically presented in his native Glasgow and in Northampton, I had the dispiriting experience of failing to establish a similar cultural trail in Ayrshire five years ago. Inspired by going on one of Robin Crichton's Mackintosh study tours in 2006, I proposed, in 2007, a similar idea to Historic Scotland, South Ayrshire Council and Visit Scotland's Ayrshire and Arran organisation but to no avail.

Mackintosh, his business partner Keppie, Herbert McNair and girls from the Glasgow School of Art spent holidays at Dunure, south of Ayr, and called it the Roaring Camp. Mackintosh sketched historical buildings in the Maybole area including Maybole Castle, Crossraguel Abbey and Baltersan Castle – all buildings which had a profound influence on his architectural work. The significant part played in Mackintosh's development by Prestwick (Keppie's house is now a B & B), Ayr (where Mackintosh's mother was from) and Carrick have all been ignored in Ayrshire and Scottish tourism promotion.

Now that the three Ayrshire councils have produced a pan-Ayrshire tourism strategy, one can hope that Mackintosh will yet be noticed, although the recently-published strategic plan does not do so. The Pyrenees Orientales development should signal time for a re-think.

James Brown,

7 Southpark Road.


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