The Story of John Low

On 21 January, our speaker, Colin Johnston, spoke about John Low from Turriff. A chance glance over his shoulder while rowing as a student on the River Dee in Aberdeen caused John to catch sight of soldiers training in the Duthie Park. Enlisting, he was soon caught up in the maelstrom of history, borne along by the catastrophic events of the Western Front until his death there in 1918. Colin’s brilliantly researched and illustrated presentation was both moving and compelling, a story, it seemed, of both fate and coincidence, history as his story.

Robert Lane Scott (Bob Scott)

On Thursday 20 May, Douglas Bruce gave us an enthralling talk on Bob Scott. Bob was born at Inverey in 1904. His father worked at Mar Estate for thirty years, living at what is now Corrour Bothy, then to Luibeg cottage and finally the Linn of Dee. Bob followed in his father’s footsteps and in 1947 became Head Keeper for Mar Estate. The outhouse to Luibeg Cottage was eventually known as Bob Scott’s Bothy. With a commanding presence and a voice reputed to carry to the summit of distant Munros, Bob became a legend, much respected by walkers throughout the UK. He was a man of many stories – recounted via his chosen vocabulary – and now told by Doug, himself a keen walker who, after a lifetime teaching, retired to Braemar.

Doric Herts an Heids

On 10th December, Dr Tom McKean, descended from Thomas McKean, who signed the American Declaration of Independence, and Director of Aberdeen University’s Elphinstone Institute, gave a splendid talk, illustrated by maps and music, on the origins of and influences on Doric and the many activities undertaken by the Institute to help ensure that the language of the North-East not only survives but flourishes.

Wilfred Owen

On 19 November 2020, Neil McLennan of Aberdeen University gave a most informative and engaging talk on the Scottish influences on the famous WW1 poet, Wilfred Owen, based on new and original research and challenging a number of assumptions about Owen’s poetry and life.

The Forests of Glen Tanar

On 20 February, Irvine Ross kindly stepped in at very short notice to give a fascinating, illustrated talk on the history of the forests of Glen Tanar and Deeside with particular reference to the roles played in the development of these lands by Lord Aboyne, William Cunliffe-Brooks and George Coats.

Thursday 16 January 2020

Between a rock and a hard place: our geological heritage on Royal Deeside

The rocks of Deeside are dominated by granites , which have an enormous impact upon our landscape and upon our economy.  Emeritus Professor Gordon Walkden, the coordinator of the  Royal Deeside Centre heritage and tourism project, will give an illustrated talk on the origin and significance of these amazing rocks.

Aberdeen’s Freedom Lands

On Thursday 12 December, Colin Johnston presented this timely talk on Aberdeen’s Freedom Lands, as this is the 700th anniversary of their donation to the Burgesses of Aberdeen by Robert the Bruce, in acknowledgement of those who had helped him establish the independence of the Kingdom. The background to the donation by Charter, and the location of the lands, was highlighted, as was the clash between Bruce’s original intentions and what actually came to pass in Aberdeen. Historically this was a unique donation which is now in many ways forgotten or misrepresented. Rectifying that, Colin revealed what became of the lands, and the original boundary march stones.

Henry Grey

Henry Grey, Surgeon of the Great War

On 21st November, Tom Scotland gave a splendid talk on the surgical innovations pioneered in WW1 by the Aberdeen surgeon Henry Grey- made all the more poignant by the inclusion of poems from the war.