Scotland's oldest and longest serving clan chief dies aged 102

Tributes have been paid to Scotland’s oldest and longest serving clan chief, who has died aged 102.

Captain Alwyne Farquharson, chief of Clan Farquharson, has died aged 102. PIC: Steven Rennie Photography.
Captain Alwyne Farquharson, chief of Clan Farquharson, has died aged 102. PIC: Steven Rennie Photography.

Captain Alwyne Farquharson of Invercauld MC, chief of Clan Farquharson, was described on Royal Deeside as a “wonderful man who didn’t have an enemy in the world” following his death on Wednesday at his home in Norfolk.

Simon Blackett, who served as Captain Farquharson’s factor on Invercauld Estates for 25 years and who now runs the trust that cares for Braemar Castle, which the chief leased to the community in 2007, said: “He was a wonderful man who lived a long happy life.

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"He was an inspiration to so many people. I don’t think he had an enemy in the world. He was so lucky to have been looked after by two wonderful women in his life and he handed the estate over in good shape to the next generation.

Captain Alywne Farquharson at Ballater Highland Games. PIC: Dave Cowe.

"He was great chief, a great man and a great friend.”

Captain Farquharson served for 70 years a both Clan Chief and the Chieftain of Ballater Highland Games.

Born on May 1 1919, he was the eldest son of Major Edward Compton of Newby Hall in Yorkshire and Sylvia Farquharson, younger daughter of Alexander Haldane Farquharson of Invercauld.

Captain Farquharson, who inherited Invercauld following the death of his Aunt Myrtle in a bombing raid in 1941, served during World War Two. First posted to Egypt with the Royal Scots Guards as mounted cavalry, he saw active service at El Alamein and fought at the Battle for Caen in June 1944.

Subsequently, he was awarded the Military Cross for his lone actions in determining the position of the enemy, despite being seriously wounded in the foot in the process.

Shortly after the end of the Second World War, he moved to Aberdeenshire to assume the role of 16th Laird of Invercauld where he affectionately became known as “The Laird” among his staff and tenants.

His lands spread from Aberdeenshire to Perthshire and included the Torloisk Estate on the Isle of Mull, which he

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inherited from his father.

The Captain married twice, first in 1949 to Frances Gordon, a journalist with British Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar who met her future husband as he recovered from his war injuries at his father’s home in Yorkshire. She put her own stylish stamp on Braemar Castle, painting some of the exterior walls sugar pink.

Following her death in 1991, the Captain married Patricia de Winton.

The clan chief attended Ballater Highland Games ever year, with his last event in 2019 when he turned 100. Despite his age, he delivered an eloquent speech that was completely unscripted as the community celebrated the landmark birthday.

Jonathan Findlay, President of Clan Farquharson UK, expressed his “deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences” to Madam Farquharson and the wider family.

He added: “The Chief played an important part in all of our lives and he will be dearly missed.”

Three separate celebrations of Captain Farquharson’s life are expected. A funeral service will be held in Norfolk with a Thanksgiving Service due at Crathie Kirk in coming weeks. A Clan Memorial will be held during the Clan Farquharson Gathering in August next year.

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