A few years ago I almost got the job of fundraiser for the Haddo Arts Trust.
Haddo is one of Scotland’s oldest estates, now run by the National Trust in partnership with Aberdeenshire Council and with a long history. The Gordon’s have lived there for over 500 years and the place has seen a thing or two in its time including the burning down of the castle by the Covenanters in the mid 18th Century.
The current Haddo House dates from 1732 and was designed by William Adam in the Georgian Palladian style. The house’s most notable former resident was George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen, the British Prime Minister from 1852–1855. Another notable period in its history was during WW2 when the house became a maternity hospital for the evacuated mothers of Glasgow. Nearly 1200 babies were born at Haddo Emergency Hospital, as it was known and many still come back to visit. They are known affectionately as the Haddo Babies.
I digress. The Interview was scheduled for a Tuesday and I duly turned up to be led to Lady Aberdeen’s private kitchen to await my turn for interrogation. Now I am not the tidiest of folk or even the most fastidious when it comes to the cleaning of houses. In previous incarnations I have worked in jobs where the client group included folk who simply never cleaned their houses and where to accept a mug of tea was to tempt the return of the plague.
But Lady Aberdeen’s kitchen was something else. If I tell you any more I will have to kill you.
I went back today though to have a look at the estate and found some nice rusting buildings and lots of decaying ruins including this which at first glance this appears to a mill lade but it also seemingly functions as a salmon and trout ladder.
Seemingly the “Lady Anna Falls” helps both salmon and sea trout make the journey to breeding grounds on the River Ythan.
Quite who Lady Anna was I have still to find out but I plan a return visit in September when I think the fish may be jumping.