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"Clan McWh*rter"
Gathering 2003

Updated 27-Jul-2002

 

 

 

   Planning is under way on a McWh*rter Family Gathering in Scotland in 2003. Since it is anticipated that most attendees will wish to incorporate vacation, touring, genealogical research or family visits in their trip, the gathering is conceived to facilitate and complement these.

  Current thinking is to schedule the gathering for the weekend of June 13-15, 2003 in South Ayrshire from whence many of our ancestors emigrated over the past 400 years. The gathering will consist of a full weekend of celebration, focused genealogical workshops, perhaps an historical perspective and guided tours of the areas with which the family has ancestral ties. Adequate opportunity will be provided for social interaction.

   If you, members of your family or friends wish to be kept informed of plans and, potentially, to participate in this gathering, please let us know by contacting:

Douglas A. McWhirter
79 Otter Crescent
Toronto, Canada
M5N 2W7

or

dougmcw@sympatico.ca

 


new3.gif (144 bytes)   The Latest Update    new3.gif (144 bytes)

 

McWh*rter Family Gathering 2003

July 2002 Update

   My wife and I had the opportunity to be in Scotland for a few days in early June, about the same time that we will be there next year for the gathering of our extended McWh*rter family. It was a beautiful time of year to be there. The gorse was in full bloom so the hills were a vivid yellow and the roadsides were lined with rhododendrons. The weather was mixed but the temperature was consistently in the 60s.

   I am delighted to report that Ronald McWhirter has agreed to join me as joint coordinator of our gathering. Ronald lives in Alloway (a suburb of Ayr) and has been invaluable in researching and booking facilities. It would have been impractical for members of the committee to attempt this from other parts of the world. We appreciate his assistance in finalising the arrangements for the gathering.

   In the last update we were reminded that deposits of 50 per registrant are required by the end of September. During the past month we have been negotiating with our bank in Ayr regarding the most effective means of remitting these deposits. The initial plan for payment to be made by wire transfer has proven to be excessively costly for senders. We now believe that bank money orders will be the most economical and efficient method. We are testing this approach currently. Following this test we will be distributing registration forms and final payment instructions.

   You should expect to receive these by the middle of August.

   At the same time you will be asked to state your preference for the memento which every registrant will receive. The cost of the memento has been included in the registration fee. The options are:

      1. A plaque bearing the Buchanan Crest and Tartan. The McWh*rter family traditionally has been identified with the Buchanan clan; or

      2. A pewter quaich. A quaich is a traditional, celtic design, two handled drinking cup approximately three inches in diameter. It will be suitably engraved to celebrate the occasion. The quaich is ornamental and is suitable for serving nuts, sweets etc.

  We continue to receive requests for information about the gathering. Our numbers have made it necessary to make minor adjustments to the programme. For example, we now exceed the capacity of Blairquhan Castle to accommodate the entire group in one tour. As a result, we will be having lunch at various local restaurants and scheduling the coaches into Blairquhan at predetermined intervals. Some of our planned events will take place in facilities which have a maximum capacity of 175 people. While we don’t anticipate that this will restrict us, we will be deal with this by accepting registrations in the order in which they and the associated deposits are received.

 


McWh*rter Family Gathering

May 2002 Update

  Time for another update about our forthcoming family gathering. The Alloway and Southern Ayrshire Family History Society is based in the Alloway Library near the location of Alan McWhirter’s Saturday morning genealogy workshop. We have kept them informed of our plans and they included an extensive announcement of the gathering in one of their recent journals.

   Their geographic area of interest coincides with the ancestral homes of many of those who are planning to attend. They have a number of publications which may interest the participants, including a soon-to-be-published transcription of the tombstones in the Ballantrae cemetery. We are delighted that they will be having a table at our Saturday morning workshop where their publications will be available for purchase.

  In the next update we will be asking each prospective attendee to complete a registration form and make a financial deposit, since the time is approaching when we must make security deposits on certain of the facilities. We will request a deposit of 50 for each participant to be paid by 30 September, 2002. Since this amount is required to cover the initial costs of the gathering, it will be non-refundable. This is necessary unless the organisers were to fund the deposits personally and assume the implicit financial risk, an unreasonable burden to place on them.

   We’ll also ask that registration forms be completed and returned to my attention. These forms will be distributed concurrently with the next update. They will be numbered and pre-assigned to each person who has indicated an intention to attend the gathering. This will enable us to reconcile financial deposits with registrations. If anyone plans to attend and has not informed us, please let us know so that a pre-assigned registration form can be sent. Final planning will be based on the number of deposits and registration forms received.

  Ronald McWhirter and Bill Ramsay have agreed to serve as bankers for our gathering and have opened an account with the Royal Bank of Scotland in Ayr. All fees will be deposited in this account and disbursements will require both of their signatures. The most cost effective way for us to do our banking will be to have the participants make deposits via bank transfer rather than by bank drafts, cheques, etc. You may wish to make inquiries as to the procedure for doing this if it is unfamiliar. The bank will impose a significant charge on any bank drafts or cheques which they receive. We would have to reflect this charge in increased fees, which we would prefer to avoid.

   Finally, we understand that a several participants have contacted Sandy Leyh at L’atitudes Travel regarding tours. She informs us that customised tours can be arranged if the ones described in the February update don’t satisfy our individual interests.

 

Douglas A. McWhirter

Coordinator, McWh*rter Family Gathering

DougMcw@sympatico.ca


Travel and Accommodation

February, 2002 Update

   The response to the recent update for the family gathering weekend has been very encouraging. Approximately +one hundred have indicated a high probability of attending. This is sufficient to enable the committee to proceed with arrangements for most of the activities which have been planned. The Brig o’Doon Inn requires a minimum number for reservations on weekends and we are somewhat short of that number at present. As a result, we may have to reconsider this magnificent site if there isn’t additional participation. If there are any who plan to attend and from whom we have not yet heard, it would assist greatly if you could advise us as soon as possible.

   It is not too soon for us to begin consideration of our travel options for the gathering of our extended family. While the organising committee does not have the facilities or resources to become involved in booking travel and accommodation arrangements, we will be pleased to provide as much information as possible to assist participants in making their own plans.

   Transportation to and from Ayr is easy. Most will choose to fly to Glasgow. There are direct flights to Glasgow from many centres of the world as well as frequent connections to Glasgow from London’s Heathrow airport. The airport is located a short distance south of Glasgow near Paisley.

   Upon arrival at the airport there are several options. Some may choose to drive the forty or so scenic miles south to Ayr. Those contemplating this option must decide whether driving on the left hand side of the road is unduly daunting. Car rental is no more complicated than elsewhere in the world and there are several well known car rental companies represented in the Glasgow airport.

   For those choosing not to drive, the rail service is excellent. There is frequent bus service to the Paisley railway station, with the bus leaving from immediately outside the arrivals terminal at the airport. The trip to the railway station is inexpensive and takes less than ten minutes. There are several trains each day directly from Paisley to Ayr.

  For those who plan to spend time in advance of the gathering in Glasgow or are traveling to Glasgow by other means, there is frequent, direct rail and coach service from Glasgow to Ayr.

   There is a large variety of accommodation options in a wide range of prices in Ayr and its immediate vicinity. The Scottish Tourist Board evaluates accommodations on a five star system which, in our experience, is applied consistently and provides a good basis for comparison. The Ayrshire and Isle of Arran Tourist Authority maintains a fine website and we recommend that you visit it to request their Travel and Holiday Guide. It is available at no charge and provides an extensive listing of accommodations, prices, e-mail and postal addresses, phone and fax numbers and a map. Expect delivery in about four weeks. The website to order this guide is:

http://www.ayrshire-arran.com/guide.asp

   Ayr is not large and most locations are within reasonable walking distance. When booking your accommodation, remember that the pickup and drop off point for the buses will be at the Savoy Park Hotel, which is centrally located on Racecourse Road.

   Several prospective attendees have inquired about the possibility of tours of Scotland in conjunction with the June 13-15 weekend. In response to these requests, we have been working with Sandy Leyh of L’atitudes Travel. Sandy is an experienced tour organiser who specialises in Scottish tours for small groups. While none of the committee has any financial interest in this company, some of us have travelled with them in the past. Sandy limits the size of her tours in order to ensure personal service. For more information on L’atitudes Travel, their website can be visited at:

http://www.latitudestravelagency.com

Sandy has designed five optional tours specifically for our group as follows:

A nine day tour of Wales preceding the gathering;

A six day tour of Dumfries & Galloway preceding the gathering;

A one week Highland Highlights tour following the gathering;

A two week Grand Tour of the Highlands following the gathering; and

A one week tour to the Orkney Islands and Inverness following the gathering.

   Detailed itineraries and prices on each of these tours can be obtained by contacting Sandy directly. It is anticipated that some of these tours will fill quickly so anyone who is interested should contact Sandy as soon as possible. She informs us that she will book reservations in the sequence in which she receives them. She may be reached via e-mail at:

latitude@infin.net or by phone at 1-888-332-0035 from anywhere in North America.

   For those who wish to spend additional time in Ayrshire, there are historic villages, friendly accommodations, beautiful hiking trails and an opportunity to do personal research at the Carnegie Library and Ayrshire Archives Centre in Ayr.

  Finally, participants are encouraged to obtain their own travel insurance to ensure that they are protected in the event they are forced to cancel their participation due to unforeseen emergencies.

Douglas A. McWhirter

Coordinator, McWh*rter Family Gathering

DougMcw@sympatico.ca


January, 2002 Financial Update

   Only a year and a half until we converge on the ancient Royal Burgh of Ayr for our family gathering!

   As we saw in the October update, the Programme Committee has compiled an exciting agenda. Based on this, Helen Colquhoun of Sydney, Australia and her Finance Committee have developed a fee structure for the weekend’s activities.

  The objective, since the beginning, has been to develop a high quality, informative, nostalgic, memorable and affordable event.

   The financial structure for the gathering has been based on the assumption that participants will be responsible for the arrangement and costs of their transportation to and from Ayr and for their accommodation and breakfasts during the weekend. All other costs will be included in the fee for the weekend with the exception of alcohol with meals and any incidental costs of transportation from each participant’s accommodation to and from the bus pick up and drop off point in Ayr.

   More specifically, the fee for the weekend will include a keepsake registration packet and all bus transportation to and from the various events. On Friday, it will include the costs of the registration facility at the Savoy Park Hotel, lunch and a tour of historic Blairquhan Castle. In the evening, a reception with welcoming piper, dinner with musical accompaniment in the Great Hall of the renowned Brig o’Doon Inn in Alloway followed by remarks by Norris McWhirter.

   On Saturday, it will include the facilities for Alan McWhirter’s genealogy workshop. At noon we will be privileged to be the guests of the Provost of South Ayrshire at a special civic reception and luncheon in recognition of this historic family gathering. It will be followed by a bus tour as described in the October update. In the evening, a presentation of Burns’ "Tam o’Shanter Experience" will be followed by a traditional Burns Supper at the Tam o’Shanter Restaurant with the "Address to a Haggis" delivered by the renowned orator, Tom Raffel, all specially arranged by Ronald McWhirter.

  On Sunday, it will include transportation to the church service in Colmonell, lunch and another bus tour as described in the last update. In the evening, a festive farewell dinner at the Savoy Park Hotel in Ayr with local entertainment.

   On Saturday’s and Sunday’s bus tours we will be accompanied by knowledgeable guides who will provide us with commentary on the areas which we will be visiting and which have figured prominently in the history of the various branches of our family for so many centuries.

   The fee for the weekend’s activities is budgeted to be 190 pounds sterling per participant. At current exchange rates this equates to approximately $640 (New Zealand), $530 (Australian), $440 (Canadian) or $275 (U.S.). The weekend’s activities will continue to be priced in pounds sterling, since that is the currency in which all costs will be incurred. As a result, individual country costs may vary as exchange rates fluctuate. Any economies, which are realised as we approach the date of the gathering, will be reflected in the final registration fee.

  Of course, the fee does not include any reimbursement of travel or accommodation for the many volunteers who continue to devote their efforts to organising this event.

   Interest in the gathering has been overwhelming. Now, based on the programme outline distributed in October and this cost information, the committee needs to have a better sense of the commitment of the potential participants. Please help as soon as possible by indicating:

  • The probability of you and your party attending the gathering (i.e. high, medium or low probability); and
  • The likely number of people in your party who will be registering for the gathering.

   The next update in February will contain specific suggestions relating to travel and accommodation. We will then be asking for an initial deposit by mid year since we will be required to make deposits on the various facilities by then.

   We look forward to your prompt response and to being with you in June, 2003.

Douglas McWhirter

DougMcw@sympatico.ca

Coordinator – McWh*rter Family Gathering


"Clan McWh*rter" Gathering 2003 (October 2001 Update)

   Over the past couple of months William Ramsay and Ronald Milroy McWhirter have expended considerable effort and have done a great deal of investigation into the logistics for our family gathering. Recently, I was in Ayrshire and we visited a number of the facilities that have been considered for inclusion in our programme and met with those responsible for them. As a result we now are able to finalise more of the programme details.

   The Savoy Park hotel in Ayr has agreed to provide us with a conference room on Friday morning for registration purposes. Since we are proposing to hold our Sunday evening dinner there, they have agreed to waive the normal charges for the room.

   We met with James Hunter Blair of Blairquhan Castle who will arrange for a light lunch to be served to us at noon on the Friday followed by a tour of the castle and its beautiful grounds. While this is the site of the McWhirter Tower which was built in 1346, no trace of the tower remains. The stone from it was used in the construction of the current castle. Nevertheless, the historic link with the McWhirter family would seem to justify the visit.

   Brig o’Doon hotel at Alloway has been tentatively reserved for the reception and dinner on Friday evening. This is an excellent facility in a truly magnificent setting adjacent to the Brig o’Doon (bridge over the river Doon) which figured prominently in Robert Burns’ famous "Tam o’ Shanter".

   The church hall at Alloway has been tentatively reserved for Alan’s Saturday morning genealogy workshop. This is a fine facility which can accommodate us readily. It has an adequate amount of wall space to display genealogy charts, etc.

   We have refined the Saturday afternoon bus tour to encompass Maybole, Girvan, Dailly, Straiton, Kirkmichael and Dalrymple. While many of those of Scots ancestry have attended a Burns’ dinner, there will be some who have not. The Tam o’Shanter at Alloway is available and will present a Burns’ Dinner for us on Saturday evening.

   A church service is a traditional highlight of family gatherings. We attended church in Colmonell and spoke with the minister, Dr. John Lochrie. Not surprisingly, he would be delighted to have us attend services at this beautiful parish church at 10:30 on Sunday morning.

   Arrangements for lunch following the service on Sunday have not been finalised but we have a couple of options. The Sunday afternoon bus tour will depart from Colmonell and has been refined to include Ballantrae, Barrhill, the beautiful conservation village of Barr and Old Dailly before returning to Ayr.

   Finally, as mentioned above, we have confirmed the availability of the Savoy Park hotel for dinner on the Sunday evening.

   Transportation for the event does not seem to present any problem. Ronald is familiar with a bus company in Ayr which can provide us with the required local transportation. The Savoy Park hotel is conveniently located to wherever the attendees may choose to stay in Ayr. For this reason we are proposing to use it as the pick up and drop off point for bus transportation for the weekend’s events.

   Transportation to and from Ayr should also be easy. While some may choose to drive, rail service is excellent. Most will choose to fly into Glasgow. There is a bus service to the Paisley railway station leaving from immediately outside the arrivals terminal. The trip to the railway station is inexpensive and takes less than ten minutes. There are several trains each day directly from Paisley to Ayr. Similarly, for those who are traveling by other means to Glasgow, there is frequent, direct rail service to Ayr.

   The following is a revised tentative programme reflecting the above arrangements.

Friday, June 13
9:00 – Noon Registration
Noon – 4:00 PM Lunch and tour of Blairquhan Castle
5:30 – 7:00 PM Reception and "get acquainted"
7:00 – 9:00 PM Dinner – Brig o’Doon
Keynoye Speaker - Norris McWhirter
Saturday
9:00 – Noon McWhirter Genealogy Workshop – Alan McWhirter
Noon – 1:00 PM Lunch
1:00 – 5:00 PM Bus Tour – Girvan, Barr including cemeteries
6:00 – 8:00 PM Burns’ Dinner
Sunday
10:00 – Noon Church – Colmonell
Noon – 1:00 PM Lunch
1:00 – 5:00 PM Bus Tour – Colmonell, Ballantrae including cemeteries
8:00 – 8:00 PM Dinner – Savoy Park
Wrap up

"Clan McWh*rter" Gathering 2003 (July 2001 Update)

In early June a draft programme was distributed to all who expressed a desire to be kept informed of the evolving plans for the "Clan McWh*rter Gathering" in June, 2003. Concurrently, the Ayrshire Post published a brief news article about the gathering and the fact that Norris McWhirter would be the dinner speaker on the Friday evening.

Thank you to all who took the time to share your reactions to the draft programme. The comments were consistently positive with particular interest in the genealogy workshop on Saturday morning. Some expressed a desire to have the workshop augmented by a speaker on local history as it influenced our forebears to emigrate to the far reaches of the globe. Others expressed enthusiasm for the tours, cemetery visits and church service although one person requested an alternative activity in place of the church service. The proposed visit to Blairquhan Castle elicited a positive response as well.

The Programme Committee (Stephanie MacWhirter, Kim McWhirter and myself) will welcome additional comments and suggestions. Based on the comments to date, however, we will proceed to firm up the details of the programme. The genealogy workshop, under the leadership of our family genealogist, Alan McWhirter, will be a principal focus of the weekend. It would be assist Alan if anyone has specific requests or recommendations as to format and content of the workshop. Suggestions should be addressed to Alan at a.mcwhirter@att.net with a copy to me.

Helen (McWhirter) Colquhoun of Sydney, Australia has graciously agreed to assist in the development of the budget for the weekend’s activities. While no numbers can be finalised at this early date, this budget will enable us to establish a preliminary estimate of the registration charge for the event. We expect to have that work completed and the results distributed in the coming months.

 

Doug McWhirter at dougmcw@sympatico.ca


"Clan McWh*rter" Gathering (June 2001 Update)

Preliminary Programme

  The Programme Committee (Stephanie MacWhirter, Kim McWhirter and myself) has developed a preliminary programme based on suggestions received from many of you in which you indicated the activities and geographic areas of greatest interest to you. We ask that you review it and e-mail me your comments about which activities are of greatest interest, which are of least, which should be eliminated and what, if anything, should be added. Based on your feedback we will proceed with more detailed planning.

   Blairquhan Castle near Straiton, is about fifteen kilometers or nine miles from Ayr and has been featured in McWhirter folklore since the "McWhirter Tower" was built in 1346. A return to our roots with a tour of the castle and its beautifully maintained grounds on Friday afternoon would seem to be an appropriate introduction to the weekend.

   Recognising that most of the attendees will be meeting each other in person for the first time, an informal reception is planned for late Friday afternoon followed by dinner.

  Following dinner we are very fortunate to have Norris McWhirter, a dedicated McWhirter family historian, as well as a renowned member of the extended McWh*rter family, as our dinner speaker.

  Saturday morning will begin with breakfast followed by a series of workshops. The pivotal one, led by Alan McWhirter, will focus on the genealogy of the various branches of the family. For most of us, this was the topic which initially attracted our interest in attending the gathering. Other activities being considered include a talk by an Ayrshire historian describing the lifestyle, economic and social conditions in Ayrshire during the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries which led our ancestors to leave for Ireland and far parts of the globe. Another could be a talk by either Jeanette Castle, the Carnegie Librarian, or by the Ayrshire Archivist describing the resources available in the immediate area for personal research since many of the participants have indicated that they plan to remain in the area for a few days for this purpose.

   Following a light lunch, the afternoon will consist of a bus tour through the rolling Ayrshire hills from Ayr to Girvan, Barr, Maybole and back to Ayr. This will be a major feature of the weekend and plenty of time will be provided for cemetery and photographic stops and possibly a visit to a family farm since the distances involved are not great.

   Dinner on Saturday evening will be followed by some appropriate entertainment, probably musical, by a local group

   Several prospective attendees have indicated a desire to attend a church service at the beautiful old Colmonell Church on Sunday morning. Many McWhirter grave sites are located in the church cemetery. Sunday afternoon, following lunch, will be devoted to another bus tour, this time the suggested destinations are Colmonell, Ballantrae, Barrhill and environs, once again with plenty of time for cemetery and photographic stops. The weekend will conclude with a dinner, followed by a brief discussion about what worked, what didn't meet the expectations of the participants and what should happen in the future.

   There has been discussion of a follow-on family gathering in October 2005 in Sydney, Australia and the organisers will wish to elicit a preliminary expression of interest.

   The following is the proposed programme in summary form:

 

Friday, June 13
10:00 – Noon Registration
Noon – 5:00 PM Lunch and tour of Blairquhan Castle
5:00 – 7:00 PM Reception and "get acquainted"
7:00 – 9:00 PM Dinner
Dinner Speaker - Norris McWhirter
Saturday
7:30 – 9:00 AM Breakfast
9:00 – Noon McWhirter Genealogy Workshop – Alan McWhirter
Genealogy Resources – Scottish research resources
Noon – 1:00 PM Lunch
1:00 – 5:00 PM Bus Tour – Girvan, Barr including cemeteries
6:00 – 8:00 PM Dinner
Entertainment or speaker
Sunday
8:00 – 10:00 Breakfast
10:00 – Noon Church – Colmonell
Noon – 1:00 PM Lunch
1:00 – 5:00 PM Bus Tour – Colmonell, Ballantrae including cemeteries
8:00 – 8:00 PM Dinner
Wrap up

I look forward to your comments by the end of June if possible.

Douglas McWhirter (dougmcw@sympatico.ca)


"Clan McWh*rter" Gathering (May 2001 Update)

Norris McWhirter, the most widely known living member of the extended McWh*rter family, has accepted our invitation to be the keynote speaker at the opening dinner of the "Clan McWh*rter" Gathering on Friday, 13 June, 2003.

  He is a noted author and a newspaper, radio and television personality. With his late twin brother Ross, he was the founding editor of the Guinness Book of World Records, the world's all-time best-selling copyright book.

  A prominent athlete in earlier life and the distinguished recipient of numerous awards, Mr. McWhirter will bring an unparalleled perspective to our gathering.

Douglas A. McWhirter

Coordinator, "Clan McWh*rter" Gathering

dougmcw@sympatico.ca


"Clan McWh*rter" Gathering (April 2001 Update)

  The "Clan McWh*rter" gathering in Ayrshire, Scotland in 2003 promises to be an exciting and rewarding event for participants from all branches of our extended family. Requests continue to be received regularly from those expressing an interest in attending and wishing to be kept informed of the evolving plans.

   In the last update a request for volunteers for the various organising committees was announced. All attendees will benefit from the efforts of those who responded and offered to participate in these committees. Particularly appreciated are:

Ian Macwhirter of Higher Poynton, Cheshire, who has volunteered to work on local arrangements with Bill Ramsay of Wishaw, Lanarkshire;

Lisa and Roger Griffin of Montana, who are designing and compiling the handout packets which will be provided to each of the registered attendees;

Karen (McWhirter) Oreto of Richmond Hill, Ontario, who will be responsible for attendee registration and the related arrangements;

Stephanie MacWhirter of Halifax, Nova Scotia, who is contributing to the development of the programme for the gathering. At least one additional member of this committee, perhaps from the Antipodes, would be of considerable assistance with this activity.

   More volunteers are welcome in each of these areas. Additional committees will be formed as required. In particular, someone is needed who will be responsible for the financial aspects of the gathering including preparing a budget, establishing the registration fee, maintaining the accounts and, ultimately, reporting the financial results to the attendees. I would appreciate hearing from anyone willing to consider undertaking this or any other responsibility.

   The next update will provide an outline of the proposed programme. Prospective attendees will be requested to provide feedback by indicating which activities are:

  • of greatest interest;
  • which of least;
  • which should be dropped; and
  • what should be added.

   Any who have yet to indicate their interest, who are considering attending the gathering and who wish to be kept informed of the plans as they evolve are invited to contact me at the address below.

Douglas A. McWhirter

Coordinator, "Clan McWh*rter" gathering

dougmcw@sympatico.ca


"Clan McWh*rter" Gathering (January 2001 Update)

   The interest in the "Clan McWh*rter" Gathering in Ayrshire, Scotland in June, 2003 has been well in excess of our expectations and responses continue to arrive regularly. As a result we are excited about proceeding with plans for this event.

   Everyone involved with the event is a volunteer. Committees are being formed to do the planning and more volunteers are needed and welcome.

   Bill Ramsay of Wishaw, Lanarkshire, who is pictured in the Fall 2000 issue of the McWh*rter Genealogy Newsletter, has agreed to chair the Local Arrangements Committee and has begun to investigate accommodation and local transportation options.

   It appears that the principal interest of the prospective attendees is focused on the Girvan – Ballantrae – Colmonell – Barr area. These are the villages from whence many of our ancestors emigrated over the past four hundred years but are rather small places without adequate facilities to accommodate a group of our potential size. The Royal Burgh of Ayr, with a population of 50,000 is located less than 20 miles north of Girvan and Barr and approximately 35 miles southwest of Glasgow. It is accessible by train, coach or car from Glasgow and offers various accommodation options which appear to be suitable. It is the home of the Carnegie Library, with its substantial collection of books pertaining to the history of Ayrshire. It is also the home of the county archives which are housed in the Ayrshire Archives Centre. Both of these facilities will interest those who have indicated a desire to extend their stay in order to pursue personal research.

  I am chairing the Programme Committee and will be providing an update on programme plans in due course.

   Alan McWhirter, of course, is the "Clan Genealogist" and will be responsible for the genealogical portion of the weekend’s programme.

   We believe it to be essential that the attendees be assured of proper accountability for all registration fees and expenses associated with the gathering and we would welcome having a prospective attendee volunteer chair the Finance Committee. While the responsibilities should not be unduly onerous, they will involve working with the other committees in preparing a budget, establishing the registration fee, maintaining the accounts and reporting the financial results to the attendees. Fortunately the internet makes this possible without the necessity of travel. Someone with an accounting background would be most welcome in this capacity. I would appreciate hearing from anyone who is willing to undertake this responsibility as well as from those who would be willing to assist with any of the other committees.

   Any who have yet to indicate their interest, who are considering attending the gathering and who wish to be kept informed of the plans as they evolve are invited to contact me at the address below.

Douglas A. McWhirter

Coordinator, "Clan McWh*rter" Gathering

dougmcw@sympatico.ca

 

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