October 1992: Daily Mail – Musings of a Scottish lady
Many of my English and European friends and acquaintances are landowners in Scotland. In recent times they have been able to buy and sell many Scottish estates at reasonable prices ensuring the continued growth of our society.
Lord Kimball left Altnaharra in Sutherland. Billy Whitbread sold Kinlochewe. Algie Cluff disposed of Clova. The Forsyth family put Ballathie in Perthshire on the market.
Amazingly Mark and Sandy Diks, the Dutch couple who bought Ben Alder, near Fort William, for £1.5m only a few months ago have decided to sell because Mrs Diks disliked the Scottish climate! Understandable if she was Australian or Italian, but the Dutch who shoot up the highlands are out in all weathers.
Peter de Savery, the English yachting enthusiast bought Glenborrodale Castle on Loch Sunart and now runs it as a hotel.
Derek Holt, the Ayrshire businessman, who built the Kip Marina, bought the Island of Gigha from the receivers of the financially beleaguered Malcolm Poitier.
Lord Laing, the biscuit tycoon, who lives at Dunphail, near Forres, resides virtually next door to his brother Fergus, at Relugas, in Morayshire (some locals call the county Laingshire). Hector Laing set his sons up in neighbouring estates. Anthony and his wife Fof, at Culmony. Robert and his wife Fiona, at Bantrach.
Then there are the Ivory and the Gammell families who have been leading lights in Glenisla in Angus for decades. James and Felicity Ivory at Hole of Ruthven at Kirriemuir. Ian and Johanna Ivory down the road at Ruthven House, near Meigle. Brian and Oonagh Ivory at Brewlands. and their Gammell cousins, Jamie and Jimmy, at Alrick and Craig. Between them, the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry. the Keswicks. the Landales. and the Jardine Patersons all from the Jardine Matheson Hong Kong dynasty, account for a lot of Dumfriesshire.
Alistair and Elizabeth Salvesen bought the Whitburgh estate near Pathhead, in Midlothian. With brother Robin Salveson already in residence at Eaglescairnie in East Lothian. Evelyn Salverson, with husband Ian Crombie, at Rankeilour in Fife. Cousin Andrew Salveson at Findrack in Aberdeenshire and Nephew Jeremy at Cardrona, near Peebles. The Salveson’s further increased the family share of ownwership of Scotland.
And what of my own family?
When Torquil, The Master of Camperdown, has finally finished at Eton and Cirencester, we fully expect him to instal himself nearby, most likely in the dower house used by my mother-in-law before we packed her off on the world tour.
Last evening, I arranged for Fiona, our daughter who is at university in Glasgow, to take a party of her chums to the Childline Ball being held at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh. I do wish I could have gone along myself since I used to simply adore waltzing under those magnificent chandeliers in the great ballroom. Mind you, that was in the days before the local council turned the old place into a multi-purpose community centre; as far as I know, there hasn’t been a really smart dance there for well over a decade. So maybe things are getting back to normal at last!
Anyway, the guest-of-honour last night was Esther Rantzen who presents that amusing television programme about life, and although I have not, as yet, heard from Fiona, with Mike D’Abo’s Band from London (he was the one who took over from the good-looking chap who sang Pretty Flamingo with that Manfred Mann pop group in the 60s), a jazz band, and Scottish country dancing into the bargain, it must have been just like the old days.
Sheriff Neil Gow has written in to chastise me about my bad spelling for which I feel suitably humbled. Alas, I am not a journalist, I am only a woman! I should say, however, that when Camperdown and I were stalking on Arran, we visited Sannox Lodge at the north-east end, not Strabane, where Lady Jean (as a Duke’s daughter, a lady in her own right) has done wonderful things to what I understand was formerly the old factor’s house, next to Brodick Castle. (Summarised from the original)