Donald Kay is a man of a successfully varied career history, however his passion is his beloved Ayr and of course Scotland’s very own Bard; Robert Burns.
I joined Donald on a gloriously sunny day in Ayr’s town centre to uncover the tales of the Royal Burgh and relive some moments in its colourful history.
Reluctant to restrict Donald to an hour or so tour, so evident and expansive is his knowledge of the area, we commenced through Ayr, the history of which Donald has researched at length through the years, to establish a factual based tour which has seen him rewarded with Entrepreneur of the Year by Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce and No1 Tour in Ayrshire from internet based Trip Advisor.
His testimonials however are much more far reaching with glowing reports from devotees from around the world who appreciate, recognize and acknowledge his talent and skill in portraying moments from history.
Throughout our tour, Donald would stop and recite an appropriate piece of Burns poetry in true Scots dialect, which brought to life his work, within the very places he had written the famous works. Particularly amusing was visiting the Auld Kirk in which Burns had penned “To a Louse” upon being seated behind a fellow worshipper who’s head was riddled with lice. ‘The Brigs of Ayr’ was also particularly poignant when we stood between the old and new bridges spanning the river, around which this amusing dialogue between the two bridges, is written.
As moving, was Donald’s relating of the Covenanters story whilst we stood beside the gravestone, depicting their plight and their final resting place, within the Auld Kirk’s graveyard.
So absorbed was I in history, the passing of everyday activity in Ayr seemed to be existing only in the confines of another dimension. Our tour finished with the telling, in true Burns’ style of the story of a poor soul and his experiences following a night spent at the local inn, appropriately enough as we were standing outside The Tam O’Shanter public house.
The historical buildings are atmospheric, the tour; bringing history to life; is informative and interesting, and Donald himself takes a great pride in his work, relating his findings to everyone who is fortunate enough to enjoy one of his tours.