Floods on the River Dee have threatened Abergeldie Castle, which is located near The Queen’s Balmoral estate, causing the Baron of Abergeldie to flee his home.
The Baron and his wife sought refuge with their neighbour, Gordon Fraser, after the river burst its banks swept away about 60 feet of land to the rear of the castle, leaving only 5 feet between the back door and the rising waters. “He left the castle when the river was at its height,” Mr Fraser told the Sunday Mail. “It swept the embankment away. It moved a 60ft lump of ground and took a lot of big mature trees as well.”
Another neighbour added: “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. Nothing can be done while the river is in spate like it is. It’s just thundering down. The river is right at the back door.”
Abergeldie Castle was built in the mid 16th century, and is a traditional sign of Jacobite sympathies in the Highlands. In 1848, the Castle was leased to Prince Albert, and the Royal Family continued to use it until 1970. Two years later, the 21st Baron of Abergeldie, John Gordon, moved into his ancestral home, and continued to reside there ever since.
The Baron was close friends with The Queen and Princess Margaret. Abergeldie Castle is about 2 miles away from Balmoral, and Her Majesty continues to rent out the 11,700 acre estate for shooting and fishing by members of the Royal Family.
After the Baron left, structural engineers were called in to assess the damage. Although no more land had been ripped away, it remains a concern that the ancestral home could yet fall into the river. However, emergency crews have set up makeshift defences around the River Dee in the hopes of reducing damage.