Study Tour 2013 – Burns Museum

After much planning (and false starts) by Secretary Peter Scott, the Committee finally managed to visit the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in August 2013. A relatively new development by the National Trust for Scotland, this is a much improved exhibition of the times and troubles of the national bard.

An Early start, leaving Greenloaning at 9.30, collecting at The Westlands in Dunblane for 9.40, Charles Collingwood, our Driver from Sweeney’s managed the jouney for us in a little over an hour and a half.

First stop was the new Museum, where past president, Jim Dawson, immediately commandeered his own personal guide in the form of official guide, Hugh Farrell. What a find, what this chap did not know about either Burns or the Museum was not worth knowing – for example, every time he visits the Museum, Alex Salmond, insists of touching one of the two copies of the Kilmarnock First Editions that the Museum has in its archives! – a good speaker for any supper, Hugh Farrell, not Alex Salmond (although we wouldn’t turn him down!) -we thought.

We found out that Jim first attended the GBC in Feb 1955 and Treasurer Ian in 1969. It was encouraging to see some of the archives in the Museum we have in our own archives in the club – in particular the pint of the Burns Festival from the London Illustrated News.

After a the tour we visited Burns Cottage, via the Tam O’ Shanter Walkway – so named as the weathervanes depict the story of arguably the worlds greatest narrative poem – on route to the “auld clay beggin” where burns was born.

A return route took us through Alloway Kirk and interestingly enough the group were talking about the poem as though it actually happened – and that was before the drink! Robert’s father is laid to rest in the graveyard just as you enter and this was the premise for Burns to encourage Grose to include a picture of the kirk in his publication.

Next stop was the Memorial and to be fair, this is need of some powerful restoration – a future donation perhaps? However it did afford the group some fine views of the Brig, captured on camera in the galleries.

The final stop was the Brig o Doon itself – the cobbles, the arch and the hight from the “Keystane” to the river below is impressive.

Lunchtime beckoned and so we retired to a sumptuous meal, partaking in the foaming ale – Tippenny and Whisky – Usquabae – and feared no evil in the dining room of the Brig o Doon House Hotel. The meal was superb although most of us failed miserably to finish the deep fried Ice cream!!

The bus returned us home for around 4. pm where a splendid couple of hours was spent with the foaming ale, comparing notes and putting the world to rights. Or as the bard himself said:

“By this, the sun was out of sight,
An’ darker gloamin brought the night;
The bum-clock humm’d wi’ lazy drone;
The kye stood rowtin i’ the loan;
When up they gat an’ shook their lugs,
Rejoic’d they werena men but dogs;
An’ each took aff his several way,
Resolv’d to meet some ither day.”

So, next years Study tour….?

Thanks to all who made the trip possible, the wives, for the taxi service and looking after things, Peter Scott for organising it, the Museum for making us welcome, Hugh Farrell for his knowledge and entertainment and the staff of the Brig o Doon House Hotel. Charles Collingwood and Sweeny’s for the drive.

CIMG3843 CIMG3838 CIMG3834 CIMG3831 CIMG3830 CIMG3826 CIMG3816 CIMG3813 CIMG3812 CIMG3810 CIMG3809

The official tour of this magnificent museum can be seen below: