Crocodile-fighting teacher leaves £2.4m in will

AN ECCENTRIC teacher who founded his own private school left a £2.4 million fortune in his will.

Eccentric teacher Dougal Greig left over two million pounds in his will. Picture: Contributed
Eccentric teacher Dougal Greig left over two million pounds in his will. Picture: Contributed

Dougal Greig was the co-founder and first headmaster of Rannoch School in Perthshire, which closed 12 years ago.

He had a fearless reputation, having once fought a crocodile while on RAF service in Africa. He turned the reptile’s hide into a handbag for his mother.

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On another occasion, bleeding heavily, he drove to hospital in the school ambulance after losing a finger, thought to be the result of having stuck it in a faulty fire alarm while testing it.

The recovered digit, transported in a matchbox, was later reattached.

In the late 1950s, Mr Greig and his fellow school co-founders, Pat Whitworth and John Fleming, bought a dilapidated building on the shore of Loch Rannoch from the Forestry Commission for £1,500.

They refurbished the property themselves, turning it into a private boarding school.

It has now emerged that the former headteacher, who lived in Edinburgh, had an estate worth £2,428,929 when he died aged 90 last year.

He had intended to leave a £50,000 donation to the school for the establishment of a scholarship but it closed in 2002 after a fall in pupil numbers.

So after his death, the teacher’s entire estate was split between his three nieces.

Mr Greig was born in Leith and educated at Edinburgh Academy. After leaving school, he was called up and enlisted in the Royal Air Force.

While working as a coxswain on a rescue boat in West Africa, he tackled a crocodile by throwing a rope around its jaws before dragging it back to the boat.

After the war, he went to Lincoln College in Oxford, where he studied politics, philosophy and economics.

Graduating in 1949, he returned to Edinburgh and gained a teaching qualification at the city’s Moray House.

He went on to teach history at Strathallan School in Perthshire, where he was a housemaster, before moving to a similar post at Gordonstoun in Moray.

In 1957, he came up with the idea to start his own school.

Rannoch School opened for business in September 1959. The first intake numbered 82 boys.

By its second year the roll stood at 138 and at the height of its popularity it had 300 pupils.

During his time in charge Mr Greig told how he strived to make sure the school was not just a place of learning but also part of the community. It helped with mountain rescue and had its own ambulance and a lifeboat, serving Loch Rannoch.

On the school’s closure, the buildings and grounds were sold to a developer and some of the area is now used as holiday accommodation.