The photos show Alan Caig with the Clan Chief, Donald and Catriona with their elder son Rory and Joan Farquharson, Vice President and Finzean House.
Alan Caig was appointed Honorary Vice President in 2007 in recognition of his many years in support of the clan society. He is a retired Chartered Legal Executive and family mediator, having worked in the legal profession in England since leaving school. He became President of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives in 2006 and steered the institute through some fundamental changes in the legal profession. In 2000 he visited our Clan Chief and was invited to start a new clan society, which held its first meeting in Edinburgh on 20 January 2001. An avid hillwalker, cyclist and kilt-wearer Alan still supports the clan society.
Donald and Catriona Farquharson succeeded Sir Angus and Lady Alison Farquharson following their passing.
Donald and Catriona say: It was a great privilege and honour for Finzean to host the Farquharson Clan Gathering this year on August 10th in Finzean House in the company of our Clan Chief, Capt Alwyne Farquharson M.C., Madam Farquharson and two other branches of the Clan, Whitehouse and Allargue, represented. Over 60 members of the Clan were present.
On this occasion, I reflected briefly on the Finzean branch of the Clan. Finzean is a slight outlier to the main Farquharson strongholds situated mid-Dee between Banchory and Aboyne and covering an area of 10,000 acres. Despite fluctuating greatly in size over the centuries, the core has been in the family for over 400 years. When my mother and father, Sir Angus and Lady Alison Farquharson, died in close succession in 2016 and earlier this year, the estate seceded to me, as 16th Laird, and my brother Andrew, who works and manages the estate on a daily basis. The estate remains largely as it has always been: owner occupied and managed in-hand with an active home farm, woodlands, moorlands, several tenanted farms and approximately two miles of fishing along the River Dee. The focus has been and remains on sustainability, of the estate as a business and of the community, which continues to thrive, centred around a primary school, a family owned and managed Farm Shop, Church and Community Association.
The Farquharsons of Finzean trace their lineage back to Finlay Mor through his eldest son from his second marriage, Donald of the Castleton of Braemar, and Donald’s second son, Robert (1575-1635). Robert became first laird of Finzean on 11th May 1609 when the Bishops of Aberdeen granted him charter to the estate. In 1707, Queen Anne granted another Robert Farquharson, the 4th Laird, a Barony Charter, ensuring his complete independence from any other feudal superior except the Crown. This put him at once in a position not enjoyed by any of the other Farquharson Lairds, who for the most part remained vassals of the Earl of Mar. Robert became a Presbyterian and, when the crunch came in 1715, the Jacobite leader the Earl of Mar was unable to bring him out with the other Farquharsons, who were ultimately to suffer because of their feudal obligations.
More recently, Finzean was the home of Joseph Farquharson R.A. (1846-1935), 13th Laird and inspirational landscape painter. Described by Phipps Jackson as “a born painter, if ever there was one, and from a child upwards nothing ever turned him from that pursuit”, his paintings continue to be greatly sought after and reach high prices at auction. As Sickert wrote in 1947: “His extraordinary virtuosity has been developed by experience, but it arises certainly from the fact that he is telling his story. The arrest of the fox in the snow of the picture called ‘Supper Time’ is a breathless moment. Bloomsbury will perhaps tell you that it is wrong to paint a live fox. Fortunately [this ethos] does not run in the North of Scotland.”
We all feel fortunate to live in Finzean and to be playing our small part in its sustainability. It is a truly beautiful corner of Aberdeenshire. As my father wrote in his 2008 book “Finzean, the Fair Place” (the Gaelic translation of the name): “Because the scenery is so rich and varied, it abounds with wildlife. The golden eagle continues to soar above Peterhill… On the hill tops, the grouse call out and the black game inhabit the woodland edge. In the native pinewoods, the rare Scottish crossbills breed, sharing the territory with the capercaillie, the red squirrel and the roe deer. In the spring time, you will hear the cry of the curlew and oystercatcher, while in the scattered woods of the valley comes the sound of the songbirds and the constant drumming of the woodpecker.”