20th Anniversary Twinning visit to Inchture Area, 22 – 27 August 2013
In this visit we welcomed 56 visitors from Fléac and 11 from Marktbreit.  On the evening of Thursday 22nd August we all gathered at Inchture Primary School to meet our guests, they were piped off the bus by local piper Jan Van Outrive-Wilkie.  Those of us who had hosted before were especially delighted to meet some new hosts for this our 20th Anniversary visit.
The Friday programme for our visitors was packed to say the least, we had so much that we wanted to show our visitors.  One group went to The Hutton Institute for their very informative tour in French and English and the other group went to Scotherbs at Longforgan where we were very warmly welcomed by The Wilson Family.  We were met by the most wonderful aromas of freshly picked herbs as we toured the packing area and we all looked gorgeous in our health and safety white coats and hair nets.  We learnt all about the business from the very start until the present day and we toured the fields and tunnels to see the growing process in action.  Visitors to Mackies Foods
The 2 groups then met up at Mackies at Taypack near Errol which is home to a massive crisp operation who export globally.  This factory had been recently opened by John Swinney MSP as it had just relocated from Inchture.  We were given a tour of the pre-production area, the production and packaging areas and the warehouse.  We were then presented with goody bags on departure and there was much crisp munching on the bus as we headed to Cairn O’ Mohr.
The groups were then treated to a winery tour and a well earned lunch.  The groups found out how Carin O’Mohr go about their fruit wine production (non alcoholic as well as alcoholic), using local fruits picked in The Carse.  Throughout this Anniversary visit we were drinking their produce!
We were then delighted with the attendance of lots of hosts and local supporters of twinning at The Inchture Hotel where we were presenting our Exhibition and Conference on “The impact of climate change on our communities, and what we can do about it”.  We have to thank Steph Barton of The Inchture Hotel and then our exhibitors and special guests for their attendance and contribution to this very successful afternoon: John Swinney MSP, Ian Hudghton MEP, Graham Blythe from The European Commission, Councillors Mac Roberts, Douglas Pover and Gordon Walker.  We also have to thank our speakers without whom the afternoon would not have been possible: Fiona Ross speaking about The Carse of Gowrie Sustainability Group, Dr. Rex Brennan from The Hutton Institute talking about climate effects on blackcurrants, Lina Dupuis from Fléac talking about the impact of climate change and adaptation of the cognac vineyards, Marlies Thein from Marktbreit with her subject matter of Locks and the link between canals, rivers and methane production, Alison Ramsay from The Braes of The Carse Conservation Group taking about  climate change and our community.  At the end there was a discussion and question and answer session between our special guests, speakers and the audience, we must also thank our translator Joseph Khazaka.  We must also thank our Exhibition Contributors and The Junior Carsonians with Head teacher Mrs Khazaka from Abernyte Primary School.
Cutting the Fleac cake
The day did not end there!  We then went to Abernyte Primary School and met members of their Eco Group.  The twinning committee laid on a BBQ for hosts and guests.  During the evening the Inchture Area Twinning committee were delighted to receive a very practical gift from The Fléac committee – a sturdy outside bench, which the children were delighted to be sitting on.  We then remembered the life of Marjorie Moreau, the original President of The Fléac twinning association, by planting a tree in her honour.  It was then very touching as Lina Dupuis spoke about Marjorie and asked the children to sprinkle some soil taken from Marjorie’s garden into the pot with the tree.
Saturday was designed to introduce our guests to some local culture and flavours.  We organised workshops for Scottish dancing, Scottish cookery and offered an urban landscape walk with great views of The Carse and Perth and a country and historical landscape walk around Dunsinane Hill.  The cookery class had then prepared the most delicious traditional soup, Cullen Skink and also a  vegetarian alternative, with a selection of local cheeses from Provender Brown, Perth, and some cold meats.  The Inchture village hall was then filled with chatter and noise as everyone sat at traditional trestle tables and found out how each other’s mornings had gone.  Lunch could have gone on all day but The Hosts came to take their guests away to show them some more local culture and flavours – whether it was to visit a local Highland Games with traditional pipe bands, a visit to a local Scottish beer festival where they had specially named a beer ‘The Auld Alliance’ or whether it was visits further afield to the likes of St. Andrews.
Our local Church of Scotland ministers traditionally welcome twinning guests to their services on the Sunday mornings.  Those who wanted to went along to Inchture Church on Sunday where Alison Jack involved them in the service.
On the Sunday evening it was all aboard The Frigate Unicorn in Dundee for our Gala Dinner where we were delighted to have as our special guests the French Deputy Consul Emeline Javierre and The Honorary Consul for Dundee area Donald Gordon.  It took a while for some guests to come aboard as they were all lining the quayside to listen to our piper Sandy Smith, a veteran of many trips to Fléac! We were treated to some fantastic music from The Collegium Musicale group from Marktbreit lead by Astrid Eitschberger.  This group of young musicians delivered a superb programme of music including familiar pieces to us all.  We listened to the main speeches from Jane Woodford and Lina Dupuis, the Presidents of Inchture Area and Fléac twinning and some words of thanks from Guy Etienne Mayor of Fléac, Erich Hegwein Mayor of Marktbreit and Marlies Thein President of Marktbreit twinning.  Gifts were exchanged, delicious food was eaten (our guests were very interested to see the Hog Roast we had aboard!) and the ceilidh dancing commenced. The Orwell Ceilidh Band based in Inchture provided fantastic music to dance to Rosalie Van Outrive-Wilkie must have been delighted to see how well her pupils were dancing after the Scottish dancing class on Saturday morning.  All too soon it was time for Auld Lang Syne.
We have a lot to thank Perth and Kinross Council for in facilitating our visit.  On the Monday  morning groups were taken on a walking tour of Perth by Council guides.  We are especially grateful to Provost Liz Grant for hosting a Civic Reception on the Monday in a suite in The Perth Concert Hall building.  After the official speeches there was a great series of photos outside with The Provost and The Mayors from Fléac and Marktbreit holding their gifts from Liz Grant. Provost of Perth with the Mayors
 All the guests enjoyed the Civic Reception very much and we are also very indebted to Elizabeth Harrison of Kinnaird who made our special and very delicious Anniversary cake which was cut and shared out at the Reception.  The visitors were then whisked off to Scone Palace where they enjoyed a bilingual tour of the Palace and grounds and a lovely cup of tea and shortbread in the old kitchen.
We drew our celebrations to a close chez Mr and Mrs Khazaka who kindly offered up a reception room in their house for our closing speeches and a final performance from The Collegium Musicale Group.  All 3 twinning groups showed everyone the gifts they had received and we enjoyed an aperitif offered by The Mairie in Fléac.  This was our last real get together before the departures the following day.  A good time was had by all and we look forward to future trips to Fléac and Marktbreit as well as receiving their citizens back here.
To enjoy the photos put together by the visitors from Fléac please click here.
For a link to our MEP Ian Hudghton, click here