Probus members get history lesson on Pitfour Estate

Where in Buchan is it possible to find a Classical folly, elegant stables and kennels, a chapel, an artificial lake and an aborted canal – all built to satisfy the hunger for status and power of one family through five successive generations?

From 1700 to 1926 onwards against the background of industrial and agricultural revolutions in Scotland, the Ferguson family strived to expand the Pitfour Estate, on the edge of Mintlaw from small beginnings until it stretched over an area covering 50 square miles of the Buchan countryside.

Each Ferguson laird spent fortunes trying to mould Pitfour and its grounds into a power base, equal to any to be found in the UK. However, by 1926, luck had run out and faced with crippling debts, everything was sold off.

At its recent meeting in the Palace Hotel, Peterhead Probus Club welcomed one of its own members, Alan Watson, who has spent a great deal of time and effort coming to the rescue of Pitfour Estate, to breath new life into it, making it a ‘hidden gem’ in Buchan.

Alan placed Pitfour Estate in its historical context, outlining the history of the Ferguson family and the contribution each Ferguson laird made within the estate and to Scotland as a whole.

Over the last two years, a great deal of work and effort has gone into the estate so that it has become a tourist attraction in its own right next door to Aden Country Park.

Future plans include a restoration of the ‘Temple’ at the far end of the lake returning Pitfour almost full circle, in part at least, to the glory days it enjoyed before 1914.

George Mitchell proposed a vote of thanks for giving members a thoroughly excellent and enjoyable presentation. The next meeting of Probus takes the form of Christmas lunch on Tuesday, December 9, at noon.