The Glencoe Estate 80th Anniversary of Auction

Glencoe as you know is bursting at the seams with history.  Recently was the 80th anniversary of the auction of the Glencoe Estate.  A bit of a back story for those history buffs.

Following the death of Lord Strathcona, the auction of the Glencoe Estate was planned for July 31st, 1935 at Glencoe House.

The recently formed National Trust for Scotland were ready to purchase this land as their first large property.  The NTS’s representative, Arthur Russel, was to bid for Glencoe, Dalness and Torren with money donated to the NTS by the Scottish Mountaineering Club.  (Incidentally, it was later discovered that the majority of the money came from the SMC’s Chair, Percy Unna.  He laid out several conditions, known as the “Unna Principles” regarding how the NTS should manage the estate.  This included access and maintaining the wild nature of the land.)

Meanwhile, Dr Alister Sutherland was also interested in bidding for Torren at the auction. Dr Sutherland, who qualified in Edinburgh, use to travel regularly from Edinburgh to Glencoe by bicycle to visit his mother (who incidentally was a MacDonald).  A newly married man in 1934, he heard of the sale of land in Glencoe and travelled to the area where he planned to bid at the auction for the purchase of Torren.

By chance Mr Russel and Dr Sutherland met on the eve of the auction and struck up a conversation. Mr Russel only wanted to buy Torren for the NTS because it had the historical Signal Rock on the land.  After chatting a while the men came to an agreement that the NTS would not bid against Dr Sutherland for Torren, with the proposal that Dr Sutherland would gift Signal Rock to the National Trust including right of way.

Dr Sutherland did win the bid for Torren and a gentleman of his word, Dr Sutherland immediately gifted the Signal Rock to the NTS and allowed a right of way through his woods for access.  It was the very first gifted property to the NTS.

Mr Russel, now having extra money from not buying Torren was able to purchase the Clachaig Hotel for the NTS which he otherwise would not have been able to afford.

The Sutherland family have lived happily at Torren for 80 years with many generations being raised on the unique and picturesque site and the Glencoe Rangers still manage the National Trust property in Glencoe today.

Glencoe, Sutherland, National Trust,

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