NINE American teenagers, caught up in the volcanic ash cloud emergency, are due to be reunited with their families today.
The school exchange group finally left the region yesterday after having to spend four extra days in Castle Douglas.
The pupils, all aged 14 and 15, were due to fly back to New Jersey on Saturday but the flight was cancelled along with thousands of others as UK air space was closed because of the Icelandic volcanic eruption.
However, unlike thousands of disgruntled travellers, the pupils from Northern Valley Regional High Schools in Old Tappan and Demarest, were happy enough to stay on.
Castle Douglas High school depute head Philip Oswald explained: “They were all fairly delighted about the flight cancellation.
“Everyone was absolutely hooked and our only concern became making sure that they didn’t get bored.
“We had them start to come with their host pupils to school and they all still seemed to be having a really great time.”
The nine pupils stranded in Castle Douglas were part of a group of 23 pupils and four members of staff visiting Dumfries and Galloway.
The other 14 pupils enjoyed their exchange at Lockerbie Academy.
All headed for Heathrow Airport by bus on Tuesday and were due to fly out last night.
Mr Oswald added: “We had a couple of families on stand-by in case we needed them in an emergency if some host families couldn’t do another week but we’ve not had to use them.
“None of the American kids were homesick but maybe a few of them were a little bit anxious about the journey itself.
“On the whole they were all quite content and delighted because it stopped them going back to school back home!”
Meanwhile, Dalbeattie bed and breakfast boss Liz Wilbur is on her way home from Spain by train.
Liz, who manages Kerr Cottage B&B in Port Road, nipped off for a holiday at a friend’s villa but got caught up in the ash cloud close- down.
So her friend, Hester Croft, answered Liz’s plea for help and stepped in to run the business.
Mrs Croft said: “I was on holiday in Loch Lomond when Liz called.
“I was out walking so hadn’t seen the news and I jokingly asked her, are you stranded?
“She was obviously very upset as the whole thing was an absolute nightmare.
“When she said she didn’t know when she’d be back I went straight home to help at the B&B.”
Liz is expected home at the weekend.