Feb 122015

With thanks to David Innes.


A new display cabinet was built to display the League Cup in the Main Stand Foyer

Whilst there was the official business of re-electing office-bearers and approving the Trust’s financial statement, of most interest was the summary of the Trust’s work in the past 12 months, contained in the Chairman’s Report.

Since the end of the 2013-14 Financial Year the Trust and its supporters have carried out a great deal of research and added many match reports to the Trust’s website.

Production of a match programme for the Under 20s has continued and has assisted in raising funds for Trust activities.

A small collection of Aberdeen related medals was purchased – two directly relating to Jimmy Philip, the club’s first manager, from 1903-1924.

Assistance was given to AFC Youth Development in the sale of raffle tickets for the Stephen Glass 1995 Coca-Cola bicycle, and processing of funds to the Youth Development department. Subsequently, negotiations with the raffle winner to bring the bike back to Pittodrie have been progressed.

A new display cabinet was built to display the League Cup in the Main Stand Foyer. With that trophy now destined for elsewhere this season, the cabinet backdrop has been redesigned and alternative items of club history displayed. The cabinet’s dimensions are such that it will accommodate any trophy for which the Dons currently compete.

The Chairman and Secretary have visited Alford’s Grampian Transport Museum and discussed a possible AFC exhibition there in May 2015. We are still considering what would be best to put on show.

The restoration of the 1907 poster by the Scottish Conservation Studio was completed and paid for. Framing to museum standard was arranged and the production of 30 actual size and 300 A3 size prints was also arranged. Selling is ongoing via the Club Shop at £65 per print, including a certificate of authenticity, and profits will be shared with Buckie Thistle.

In October the Big Red Quiz (organised by Trustee Bob Bain) was held and £4000 raised for Trust funds.

In November the annual Armistice Memorial Ceremony was held, on a bigger scale than ever. Gifts were received by the Club and the Trust from the Ghurkha community.

A limited edition of 20 pewter figurines, replicating Willie Miller’s arm and hand grasping the ECWC in his famous pose, was commissioned and received.  This is a 10” version of the item originated and marketed by Dolly Digital, and matches the stature of the mini-replica ECWC given to the club by UEFA. The first of these figurines was put on display in the Main Stand Foyer cabinet (pic above)

A small display cabinet has been commissioned for the Black and Gold Lounge for the display of George McNicol’s boots from 1904.

A collection of bound volumes of The Northern Figaro (a 19th century local weekly) has been obtained and is being scoured for “new” information and pictures from the pre-1903 period.

The next matchday bucket collection for Trust funds will be held when the recently-postponed SPL fixture against Dundee United is played.

A sale of old programmes is being considered, before the end of the season, in the Richard Donald Stand.

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Nov 212014

Aberdeen football poster2With thanks to David Innes.

Buckie Thistle and the AFC Heritage Trust today announced the rediscovery and restoration of a very rare football poster from 1907.

The poster was used in December of that year to advertise the Aberdeenshire Cup fixture to be played at Pittodrie Park between the two clubs.

The poster was tucked away at Victoria Park in recent years until it was brought to the attention of the AFC Heritage Trust who approached Buckie and undertook to have the poster, which was not in great condition, restored.

It is believed that the design of the poster was produced by famous London  artist Frank Dadd, still well known for his many classic advertising posters and in particular for many from the First World War.

It was printed by Petty & Sons of Leeds and Reading, now a part of the Polestar-Petty Group.

The work of renewal was painstakingly carried out by the Scottish Conservation Studio near Edinburgh. This involved bathing the poster in special fluids to remove acids and stains that had accumulated over the years.

Many small pieces of the poster had to be captured during this process and carefully placed – in jigsaw puzzle style – in their positions on the poster as it was reassembled in one piece. The final stage was to mount the restored poster in an acid free mount ready for framing.

Framing was completed in Aberdeen and the poster is now protected behind an acid free, anti-ultra violet, acrylic pane.

For the time being the original poster will be displayed in the Black and Gold Lounge at Pittodrie where it will sit alongside other material from the early 1900s period. Eventually, because of the need to keep this important object in the correct atmospheric conditions it is hoped that the original will be put in the care of a specialist Gallery that has the appropriate storage conditions and a facsimile print will be displayed in its place.

Buckie Thistle will also have one of these limited edition prints and a limited  number of A3 size prints will be offered through the AFC Club Shop for sale to help recover the costs of restoration and preservation.

A spokesman for AFC Heritage said:

“This has been a lengthy process and we are grateful to Buckie Thistle for allowing the poster to come back into the public gaze. We have been told by experts at the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden Park that this is a very rare and unusual item and that they have not seen one before. Perhaps now that we have publicised the piece someone will be able to tell us otherwise, we’d certainly be glad to have more information.”

For Buckie Thistle, Chairman Garry Farquhar observed

“It is a great thing to see such an unusual piece of football history returned to life more than 100 years after it first saw the light of day. We are delighted to work hand in hand with the AFC Heritage Trust on this and look forward to an ongoing partnership whilst a small range of merchandise is produced around the image to help both the Trust and ourselves.

“We hope that fans of both clubs will get enjoyment from the poster and perhaps owning a beautifully produced copy.”

Footnote: The tie, which was played off on Saturday 14th December 1907, ended in a 3-0 win for the Black and Golds’ Reserve team. The match kicked-off at the unusual time of 2:20 p.m. to allow it to be played in daylight.

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Sep 122014

Robbie Shepherd, 2By Bob Smith.

‘Ay ay fit like e day?’
Comes oot o a nor’east mou
They’ll nae ask aboot the FTSE
Jist fits the price o a coo

Es wither his bin affa gweed
The barley’s in fine fettle
If tatties hud their price
The wife’ll git her new kettle

Are yer hennies aye still layin?
An tatties weel set in the dreel?
Man a wis noo jist thinkin
Yer calfies leuk affa weel

Nae funcy spik fae fairmin fowk
Jist stracht an ti the pynt
Incomers micht git offendit
Wi their nose pit oot o jint

Bit tak the fowk as ye fin ‘em
Git used ti their nor’east wyes
It’ll tak a file ti fill their beets
Ye micht struggle ti reach their size

©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2014

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Jul 252014

Aberdeen City’s deer population has been more than decimated by what seems like a heady cocktail of politics, bad science and greed. Aberdeen Voice covers the issues in a series of articles. By Suzanne Kelly.


A recent SNH count suggests that the number of deer on Tullos Hill may be no more than three.

The controversial Tree for Every Citizen scheme, originally a Lib Dem election promise, was promoted in particular  by Aberdeen City Councillor Aileen Malone, paid consultant Chris Piper, and city ranger Ian Talboys.

Nearly three dozen deer were shot on Tullos Hill alone, despite a large public outcry from residents, community councils, elected officials and animal welfare charities.

That wasn’t the end of the persecution of this herd of deer, which had been successfully established on the hill for over 70 years. The SNH issued new controversial guidelines, suggesting that the hill can only support 3 or 4 deer – an idea which is demonstrably untrue, and which would of course virtually destroy a healthy gene pool. The trees planted during the first phase of the scheme failed to grow, admittedly in part due to deer browsing – but unchecked weed growth, the wrong size tree guards and the very poor soil matrix on the hill were cited by experts as reasons for failure. The deer are virtually gone; the weeds outnumber and overshadow the new trees. The establishment of the trees seems very unlikely to experts and observers. But things got worse for the deer. Deer legs were found on both Kincorth and Tullos Hills in January of this year, apparently severed. Information from recent Freedom of Information requests has revealed a catalogue of issues to be addressed, and one of these is the poaching of several deer, and how the officials handled it.

Poaching: On 6th January walkers found deer legs on Tullos Hill. One week later, more animal remains were found on Kincorth Hill. These included a deer leg, and remains of a domestic cat that had been apparently skinned.  In the Kincorth Hill case, the findswere reported to a city warden at the time; the warden saw the animal remains.   There was a small amount of uncertainty at the time whether it was a warden or a ranger involved on Kincorth; it was later confirmed to be a warden. In any event, the warden made no report at all to the city rangers, police or the Scottish SPCA – which should be immediately notified of any potential animal-related crime. This disturbing news of these two finds never appeared at the time in the press, this is hardly surprising, as documents show the City was keen to keep the story of two trapped deer away from the Evening Express.

“We would not want this getting into the Evening Express so we need to act as a matter of urgency.”

The deer carcases were not found on the hills, only the legs. One of the City’s strongest arguments for killing the Tullos deer was that they had ‘no natural predators’.

a city warden failed to act on the evidence

Wildlife experts at the time pointed out that foxes for instance will take young fawns, and dogs also attack deer. The City and the SNH make no mention of illegal poaching, lamping and deliberate attacks on wild deer when they make this argument that there are ‘no natural predators’. A 19 February email from someone in the city’s ranger service confirms a cat pelt was found on Kincorth Hill:

“I have just got some info back from the City Wardens on their aspect of this so can now complete it. They did apparently find a cat pelt on Kincorth Hill, but no indication of how it had been obtained and which was reported to the Police and they had seen a dog with a deer leg but it looks like that was not reported to the police.”

There is also an admission that a city warden failed to act on the evidence. On 3 Feb someone emails:

“I’d hope that the would report this sort of thing to the police. [name redacted] manages this service now and it may be worth having a chat to him. He is very helpful”

Astonishingly, someone in the city’s ranger service makes an unfounded conclusion about the deer:

“The Tullos one is something we heard about from the police who are investigating this as poaching though [name redacted] and I suspect the animals could not have been taken on Tullos Hill as the population that [name redacted] has seen in recent months is less than this. SNH were due to be doing their repeat thermal imaging survey on the Tull0s Hill last night, I haven’t heard the results of how many deer they found.”

No evidence to support the ranger’s conclusion was supplied in the FOI request. If the ranger’s expertise is taken for granted, then person or persons unknown killed four (or more) deer at a different location, dismembered the bodies, and then walked fairly far from any vehicle parking area to deposit the legs on Tullos Hill. Perhaps if the rangers are making these kinds of conclusions without evidence, then there is a case for examining all the evidence they have asked the City and public to take at face value on the viability of the tree scheme and the ‘need’ to destroy the herd. The statement above also reveals that the rangers know the population was extremely low. Originally 22 deer (approximately) were to be killed in the first year of culling: 34 or 35 were taken. More were killed on subsequent years, and the plan is to kill still more. Members of the public are reacting angrily to the decimation of the city’s deer, now possibly only 19 in number according to the SNH. And the rangers want to kill more still.

The SNH deer population recommendations are guidance only, and do not have to be adhered to. It is hoped the City will look into the issues surrounding the depleted deer numbers, call a halt to the further destruction of animals for the foreseeable future at least, and ensure the authorities share all information on similar crimes with the Scottish SPCA, – and all future crimes are fully reported and investigated. Ideally, a proactive ranger service that would monitor the hill in a robust manner 7 days a week with a view to preventing further illegal poaching and all other illegal activities would be welcome.

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Jun 272014

Asleep at the wheelBy Duncan Harley

There are well over 25 thousand museums in the UK, ranging from national institutions such as Glasgow’s Burrell collection, to the likes of the Maud Railway Museum, with many others in between.

Some museums are open 24/7 and are free to all comers.

Others are subject to a voluntary donation and are open mainly during the summer months, except on Wednesdays, unless of course there is a Q in the month; but I digress.

Funding, or the lack of it, dictates opening hours, and unpaid volunteers are the mainstay of most such museum enterprises. In the main they are a sterling effort, but often difficult to access due to these constraints. There is no criticism intended here, only comment.


Fortunately for us in the North East of Scotland, the Bon Accord Steam Engine Club is in the habit of bringing heritage right to our doorstep.

Hosted by the Scottish National Trust flagship property, Castle Fraser, the Bon Accord Steam Fair of 2014 was by all accounts a flagship event. With over 50 thousand gallons of water and a good few tons of coal on tap, the magnificent engines which drove the industry of both Victoria’s last decades and the early years of the 20th Century fairly wowed the crowds.

Steam power is of course nothing new, and the history of the steam engine stretches back to the First Century AD, with the first recorded rudimentary steam engine being the Aeolipile described by the Greek mathematician and engineer Hero of Alexandria.

It’s a powerful means of propulsion which the likes of Scottish inventor James Watt used to good effect, to produce rotary motion.

advanceAt some risk of injury, try placing some tinfoil over the spout of your kettle at full boil and you’ll see what I mean. Steam is indeed powerful stuff.

Steam engines powered Scottish industry for well over eighty years. Mills, ships and transport benefited from the power of steam. In fact some would argue that the empire was built on the back of it. The Clyde built steam ship Waverley and her sister ship Jeanie Deans epitomised the breed.

However at the heart of it all was the humble steam traction engine.

The Bon Accord Steam Engine Club (BASEC) was founded by Bill Barrack, an enthusiast concerned that many magnificent self-propelled steam engines were ending up as scrap. He and a few like-minded folk set about preserving them for the enjoyment of future generations. I am pleased to say that Bill’s efforts, plus those of all of his fellow enthusiasts, have not been in vain.


As if the spectacle of over forty steam-powered road vehicles entering the show ring at last Sunday’s event was not enough, one in particular caught the public’s attention.

While the Kintore Pipe Band piped “Happy Birthday” amidst the grey coal smoke and white steam of yesteryear, the veteran one hundred year old steam traction engine Finella, owned by the Barrack family since 1947, stood proudly to attention while her birthday wishes from the Queen were read out to the assembled crowd.

Her Majesty had taken time to send her good wishes to a centenarian who even in retirement continues working to bring pleasure to all who see her.

bon accord 4Founded in 1967, and with ten years under its belt at the Castle Fraser venue, the Bon Accord Steam Engine Club have proved yet again how enduring the power of steam can be.

On the drive home we followed a line of admiring petrol heads, in a long and smoky queue behind Grampian Transport Museum’s Sentinel Steam Wagon as it slowly drove along the highways and byways of the long road to Alford, at an average speed of 19 mph or less.

No one overtook the smoking monster and no one really minded the holdup.

Such is the price of heritage.

© Duncan Harley All rights reserved

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Jun 132014

Show stopping Model completes Great Train Robbery Exhibit. With thanks to Martyn Smith, Marketing & Events Organise

Train Robbery 2b1

Scale model of the scene at the Bridego Railway Bridge, Ledburn

A new arrival to the collection at the Grampian Transport Museum has completed the line up of a topical new exhibition on the events of the Great Train Robbery.
Still billed as the ‘crime of the century’ the events which took place in the early hours of 8th Aug 1963 were only ever photographed in the hours after, when the authorities arrived to begin their investigation.

The Son et Lumiere model, which is now on show at the museum, is an absolutely accurate scale model of the scene at the Bridego Railway Bridge, Ledburn.

Recently built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the infamous raid, it is on loan from the Luton Model Railway Club until the end of August and helps to bring together the first serious exhibition of its kind on the subject.

Having already reunited two of the actual vehicles used in the raid, Curator Mike Ward is delighted to have secured the Diorama.

“It’s great to have this show-stopping model as part of our Great Train Robbery exhibition. This has been painstakingly built, from scratch, working from the Police photographs which were taken in the hours after the raid – the only visual record of the scene of the crime which was captured.

“There was a lot of mis-information reported following the incident and the Luton Model Railway Club have done a fantastic job of peeling back the layers to get to the truth and recreate the scene of the crime. We’re very grateful to the Luton Club for allowing us to borrow the model until August. It really does put the finishing touches to our exhibition!”

 Along with the Diorama, Grampian Transport Museum was also to locate and secure on loan the actual Austin Loadstar truck which was used to flee the scene of the crime with the loot. An ex army Land Rover Series 1 was also tracked down and is also on display until the end of August.

May 092014

By Duncan Harley.a4 steam inverurie 17

Inverurie’s historic connection with steam was recalled at the weekend when the LNER Class A4 4488 Union of South Africa stopped at Inverurie Railway Station, en-route south via Aberdeen and Stonehaven, following a week long rail tour of
the UK.

Built for the London and North East Railway Company in 1937, the streamlined green liveried steam locomotive pulled in at Platform One for a one hour stop to allow both rail enthusiasts and interested passers by an opportunity to admire a potent symbol of a bygone age.

Originally operating from Edinburgh’s Haymarket, this engine later transferred to Aberdeen and hauled the last passenger steam train from Kings Cross on 24th October 1964 before finally being withdrawn from British Railways service in 1966. A similar locomotive the “Mallard” holds the world steam engine speed record having clocked over 125mph (202 km/h) in 1938.

The Union of South Africa’s passengers on Saturday were enjoying the nine day “Great Britain VII” rail tour run by the Railway Touring Company. Leaving London Victoria on April 26th the steam tour had made its way north via Beattock Summit, Mallaig and the Glenfinnan Viaduct of Harry Potter fame before returning via Inverurie to London’s King’s Cross Station on May 4th.

Comfortably seated in Pullman style coaches many passengers were railway enthusiasts and indeed on one carriage window a sign had been posted which read “Caution, this Train Contains Nuts.”

As one traveller explained:

“This is a chance for railway buffs to live out the dream of travelling in the steam age and a sense of humour, as well as an interest in the rolling stock, is essential.”

a4 steam inverurie 7

LNER Class A4 4488 Union of South Africa at Inverurie Railway Station – Credit: Duncan Harley.

It’s hardly surprising that enthusiasts hark back to a golden age when trains not only transported folk around the country, but did so in some style.

Saturday’s visit by the Union of South Africa certainly drew crowds, although one concerned local had seemingly been drawn to attend only because he assumed that the plume of smoke emanating from the station signified a train on fire.

He soon joined excited onlookers however and, after pulling out his phone, began sending pictures to all and sundry.

There are over 100 heritage railways currently operating in the UK including Aberdeenshire’s Alford Valley Narrow Gauge Railway and The Royal Deeside Railway near Banchory. If a nine rail day trip is beyond your reach then perhaps a day trip on a local scenic railway could fill in a very pleasant summer afternoon.

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Mar 282014

With thanks to Dave Macdermid.

BikeGavSimmy_001The raffle for the most famous bicycle in the history of Aberdeen Football Club will take place on Monday with former manager and current board member Craig Brown doing the honours.

A Club spokesperson said: “The bike won by Stephen Glass after his League Cup winning man of the match performance in 1995 is up for grabs along with a custom made cycling top from theCyclejersey.com and this is a fantastic chance for one Dons supporter to get their hands on a significant piece of AFC history as well as a unique cycle jersey as well!”

The raffle for the unique piece of AFC history, is being undertaken in conjunction with the AFC Heritage Trust, with tickets costing £5 which can be purchased via www.afcheritage.org  by clicking ‘donate’ on the home page, after which a unique number is allocated to each ‘ticket’ purchased.

Alternatively, numbers can be purchased at Aberdeen Football Club reception, ensuring that those buying leave their contact details, including telephone and e-mail.

All money raised is going to youth development at Pittodrie and Head of Youth Development Neil Simpson said:

“The picture of Stephen being given the bike in the soaking rain at Hampden is one of the most memorable images of that day and it’s a real opportunity for someone to own something that was very much part of that occasion! Everyone who buys a ticket will also be helping to invest in the future of AFC and that can only be a positive.”

Tickets for the raffle can now be purchased up until 23.59 on Sunday 30th March 2014 with the draw taking place at Pittodrie Stadium at 12 noon on Monday 31st March 2014 with details of the winner published on the Club website that afternoon.

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Mar 112014

Ryan-bikeWith thanks to Dave Macdermid.

There is still time to have the chance of winning the iconic Coca-Cola branded bicycle won by Stephen Glass the last time the Dons won the Scottish League Cup and seen here modelled by midfielder Ryan Jack.

The raffle for the unique piece of AFC history, is being undertaken in conjunction with the AFC Heritage Trust, with tickets costing £5 which can be purchased via www.afcheritage.org  by clicking ‘donate’ on the home page, after which a unique number is allocated to each ‘ticket’ purchased.

Alternatively, numbers can be purchased at Aberdeen Football Club, ensuring that those buying leave their contact details, including telephone and e-mail.

AFC Head of Youth Development Neil Simpson is confident that supporters will be eager to get their hands on such an iconic vehicle.

“It’s a fantastic gesture by Stephen and really appreciated. The picture of Stephen being given the bike in the soaking rain at Hampden is one of the most memorable images of that day and it’s a real opportunity for someone to own something that was very much part of that occasion. Everyone who buys a ticket will also be helping to invest in the future of AFC and that can only be a positive.”

Tickets for the raffle can be purchased up until 23.59 on Thursday 13th March 2014 with the draw taking place at Pittodrie Stadium at 12 noon on Friday 14th March 2014 with details of the winner published on the Club website that afternoon.

Aug 302013

With somewhat uninspiring opening lines such as ‘O Thou! Who rollest in yon azure field’, ’When energising objects men pursue’ and ‘We do not curse thee, Waterloo!’ it’s a wonder that anyone reads Byron nowadays, unless forced by academic requirements, or perhaps an over-enthusiastic zeal for the great days of the celebrated Romantic Poets. Duncan Harley looks at the truth and myths surrounding this enigma.

 Gight Castle. Image Credit: Duncan Harley

Gight Castle. Former home of Byron’s mother. Image Credit: Duncan Harley

Byron remains popular and his following is undiminished. He wrote of course, amongst other works, Don Juan.
In the classic version, Don Juan is portrayed as a wealthy Lothario and libertine who devotes his life and soul to the seduction of women. His life is also punctuated with bouts of extreme violence, instances of murder and, almost inevitably, lots of gambling.

The tale’s ending depends on which version of the legend one reads.

Tirso’s original play has been interpreted as a religious parable warning against Don Juan’s sinful ways and ends with him dying, having been denied salvation by God. Other authors and playwrights have interpreted the ending in their own fashion. Espronceda’s Don Felix walks into hell and to his death of his own volition, Zorrilla’s Don Juan asks for a divine pardon. The figure of Don Juan has inspired many interpretations.

Byron’s version, however, reverses the classic womanising image of legend, portraying the protagonist not as a womaniser, but as a man easily seduced by women. Written over 16000 lines of verse, Byron himself called it an ‘epic satire’ which indeed it is.

There is much more to the poet though. Born in 1788 in London, and still regarded as one of the greats of British poetry, in Greece he is still revered for having fought for Greek independence from Ottoman Empire rule. In some ways, his life, if you discount the numerous love affairs, aristocratic excesses and that slightly scandalous sexual affair with his half sister, mirrors that of Eric Blair, the author George Orwell.

Blair’s experiences in the Spanish Civil War might not be too different from those of Byron in the Greek Civil War of Independence. Between 1821 and 1832, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and several other European powers fought the Ottoman Empire. Byron was for the Greeks and against the Turks and went so far as to die for the cause in April 1824, aged just 36.

he could have reversed the state of anarchy amongst the Greeks

In truth, he died of fever and not of heroic battle wounds, but given his romantic disposition, had he been able to tell of his own demise he would no doubt have immortalised his death in heroic romanticised stanzas.

The good folk of Greece, and in particular the folk of Missolonghi where Byron died, still commemorate his arrival in January 1824, during a lull in the war with Turkey. There are those who to this day feel that he could have reversed the state of anarchy amongst the Greeks and brought the conflict to a swifter end.

Who was this man?

A poet obviously and a great one. A romantic, of course, who lived life to the full.

An Aberdonian? Well almost.

Byron’s mother was one Catherine Gordon of Gight. There are, of course, a whole lot of Gordons, from Moray to Aberdeenshire who ruled and feuded for centuries. A Gordon fell at Flodden, another in Flanders and they murdered each other without mercy over the years, waging war amongst themselves with predictable results. There are many Gordon Castles in NE Scotland and most are in either ruins or new ownership.

Catherine Gordon of Gight however topped the lot in some ways.

Gight Castle is a ruin nowadays. Set in a place of some beauty and difficult to get to, it was described by Cuthbert Graham in his Grampian: the Castle Country as being associated ‘from first to last’ with a race whose story was ‘crowded with murder and sudden death’.

Gight Castle Sign. Image Credit: Duncan Harley George Gordon built Gight Castle in 1560. In line with the defensive thinking of the time, it resembled Delgatie Castle in design, measuring around 70ft by 50ft and built on an L-plan and may have been commissioned from the same architect. Unlike Delgatie, it has not survived the ravages of the last half millennium.

Catherine Gordon had the misfortune to marry a man known as Mad Jack Byron, a conspicuous gambler and Coldstream Guards Officer.

After Mad Jack had squandered most of her fortune and deserted her, Mrs Byron took her infant son to Aberdeen, where they lived in lodgings on a meagre income.

Meanwhile, Mad ‘Foulweather’ Jack died in 1791 aged 35 at Valenciennes in Spain. Lord Byron would tell friends that his father had cut his own throat, but that may be an exaggeration.

Byron junior attended school in Aberdeen and lived for a while in Queen Street. Whilst his impoverished mother drank, he attended Aberdeen Grammar School before launching himself into what some consider to be a romantic repeat of his father’s attempts to gain happiness and fulfilment in a life misspent.

The lands and castle of Gight were sold to pay off Mad Jack’s gambling debts and the rest is history. The ruin remains and nowadays sheep graze on what might have been Lord Byron’s legacy. Perhaps I prefer the poetry though.

There is, I am told a pub in Aberdeen’s Northfield named after the man. Now, that is an accolade indeed.

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