Bute played host this week to a group of overseas visitors from Spain, Romania and the Czech Republic as part of a Europe-wide adult learning project.
The 14 visitors spent two days experiencing the best of Bute and of Scottish culture on an exchange visit arranged to help promote the use of adult learners to encourage others to return to education.
The group visited Rothesay Castle on Wednesday and enjoyed a tour of Mount Stuart and a round-the-island sightseeing trip on Thursday, while an event on Wednesday evening gave the visitors the chance to experience Scottish music and culture through demonstrations by the Rothesay and District Pipe Band and Highland dancers from the Speirs School of Dance, as well as a taste of ceilidh dancing, with tuition provided by former Rothesay Academy teacher Jim Bicker.
The visitors were guests of the Rothesay learning centre run by Argyll College, which is a partner in an EU-funded project known as CASPAN (Creating an Adult Support Platform And Network), along with a Romanian non-governmental organisation, a school in Spain, a technical college in Turkey and a private firm in the Czech Republic.
Also involved in the scheme is the Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP), based in Glasgow, which works with further and higher education institutions to enable adults with no formal educational qualifications to return to studying and to go on to college or university.
Andrew Quinn from SWAP said: “This project aims to use volunteer adults to act as role models or mentors to encourage other adults to return to education.
“The success of the project has been totally dependent on the support of Argyll College, and especially centre manager Linda McLaughlan and principal Fraser Durie, and all the learners who have put so much into establishing a good base for the project for years to come.
“This event is a celebration of their achievements, and they are very proud to be able to present that to their visitors.”