Floods leave 16th century Scots tower on the brink

Neighbours of the Queen at Balmoral had to flee for safety when their castle by the River Dee came close to being destroyed during Storm Frank.

Neighbours of the Queen at Balmoral had to flee for safety when their castle by the River Dee came close to being destroyed during Storm Frank.

John Gordon, Baron Abergeldie, 76, and his wife abandoned the 16th century tower house after the river burst its banks and carried off a 60ft strip of land, including mature trees, which sat between the castle and the river.

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The A-listed building has been left in a precarious position, now only feet from the river’s edge.

Lord Abergeldie initially took shelter in neighbour Gordon Fraser’s home before moving to another house on the estate.

Mr Fraser said: “He left the castle when the river was at its height. It swept the embankment away.

“It moved a 60ft lump of ground and took a lot of big mature trees as well.”

Another neighbour said: “When the waters came up he had to get out quickly. The castle is teetering on the brink. God knows what will happen if the Dee rises any further.

“The castle is in imminent danger and John is at his wits’ end. It’s not only a home. It’s the heritage, the history. It’s a class A listed building so losing it would be a national tragedy.

“Nothing can be done while the river is in spate like it is. It’s just thundering down. It swept away and smashed the mature trees at the back of the house like matchsticks.

“It also took 250 feet of the bank away and all the ground at the back. The river is right at the back door.

“I’m sure the Queen will be in touch with her condolences.”

Lord Abergeldie was too distraught to comment, but last week told friends he had not seen flooding like it at his home before.

Structural engineers he had contacted said yesterday that no more land had been swept away overnight.