Fine News about Bygone Days

Following January’s cancelled meeting due to adverse weather we were delighted to welcome Alan Taylor and Robert Dinnie to a near capacity society audience, where they gave an enthralling ‘fireside’ chat on their lives growing up and working in Aboyne.

Alan Taylor, a retired auctioneer, detailed the workings of the “auction mart” system in the North East.  The marts started off as a number of very local livestock markets dotted around the Shire to eventually consolidating and amalgamating into the significant Thainstone auction mart at Inverurie today. Auctioneers would visit farmers regularly not only to get to know the farmer but also the livestock plus the added bonus of scones, bannocks and perhaps drams to guard against the cold. The “mart” at Aboyne was once located on the present Aboyne Green before moving to the site now occupied by the Co-op supermarket.

To compliment Alan’s tales Robert, who confessed to being a 1938 loon,  could well recall the auctioneer visiting his farm prior to sales. He did note that Aboyne mart comprised all wooden pens which would not have coped with the strength of today’s cattle. Apart from farming anecdotes Robert recounted his vivid memories of the great gale of 1953 when he watched in awe as great stands of timber were blown flat in a spiralling tornado like motion. He also outlined  the long history of the Birse kirk, how the Queens Loch got its name thanks to visits by Queen Victoria. Robert recalled the strengthening of the Potarch bridge which thankfully,  despite many a muckle spate, remains in place today.

Members lingered at length over fine pieces to chat to Robert and Alan who were happy to answer further questions.