My maternal family tree is littered with Stewarts of Dull and Robertsons of Logierait, all of whom would have known Aberfeldy well. One of my very first memories is of standing on the little suspension bridge over the River Lyon just downstream from Fortingall. Both before and after WWII, my parents stayed regularly at the Fortingall Hotel during its time under the legendary hotelier, ‘Heppie’ Heptonstall.
Though born in Edinburgh, my father was a GP in Lincolnshire, and so, apart from two years at a Scots prep school, I was educated in Norfolk, first in Hunstanton and then at at Greshams School, Holt. Most of my working life was spent in London; I worked for ten years for Michelin, finishing as Company Secretary of one of their subsidiaries. I then joined Canning, an international business language training outfit based in London and worked with them for eighteen years, travelling extensively and working my way up from Trainer to Course Director, to School Director, to Recruitment Director and finishing as Operations Director.
But, all the while, the word ‘Fortingall’ rang in my head with a kind of magic. And so in 1987, I bought a house there, settling permanently in 1993. Since then, I have studied the history of the area with diligence and love, to the point where, when I was asked to write this history, I felt confident enough to take up the challenge. The book took over two years of research, but I’m proud to say that those who have read it have thoroughly enjoyed it. Positive feedback from readers centres on:- a) the fact that I wrote it to be read by non-historians, and b) the story of the valley is set against events across Scotland and the wider world, making it “a sort of mini-primer for Scots history”, as one reader put it.
The book is available at www.aberfeldywatermill.com/