Thursday, September 18, 2014

Scottish Highland Ghost

The Laird of Balavil, Allan Macpherson-Fletcher lives in a home that has been in his family since the 1790s.

Balavil Estate

Balavil was designed and built by Robert Adam for a wealthy Georgian, James Macpherson who made his fortune from the East India Company.

Later, the estate survived because a “good marriage” was made with a family that had attained their fortune during the Industrial Revolution.

Balaval today has 18 bedrooms, a large dining room, a gunroom, updated kitchen and no central heating. The estate includes 7,000 acres.

The Balaval estate was made famous when it was featured as Kilwillie Castle in the popular British television drama, Monarch of the Glen.

The Macphersons are the last of the old families in the great house of strathspey.

Most of the neighboring estates in the Central Highland near Inversness have already been sold off to billionaires from around the world.

These landlords who spend only 2 to 3 weeks out of the year at these estates are liked by the Scottish for they employ many locals year-round to maintain these properties inside and out.

During an interview with The Telegraph in 2013 Allan Macpherson-Fletcher announced he has put his estate up for sale, which means an end to an era in the Central Highlands.

 The Laird

Allan Macpherson while studying agriculture at Aberdeen University did not intend to become the Laird of Balavil.

But when the A9 had plans to built through the estate his elderly Aunt Peg begged him to help out. When she died he took over.

He fell in love with a local widow who was the daughter of a shooting tenant at Balavil. His wife Marjorie and him have 5 children and have been married for 38 years.

Macpherson has worked to maintain the estate as a commercial operation for the last 40 years.

In its heyday in the 1930s the estate had a carpenter, two foresters, four games keepers, six gardeners and eight farm staff. There was also fourteen staff in the house to look after the family.

During the seven seasons Monarch of the Glen was filmed at Balavil the 1000 pound daily fee helped the estate keep going.

These days Macpherson has a housekeeper and one gamekeeper. He brings in additional staff only when needed. Macpherson, who is 63 years old, is the estates’ gardener and landscaper.

He hopes to sale the estate for over 7 million pounds and plans to build a house for him and Marjorie on a corner of the estate and split the sale price between his children.

He is not sad about letting the estate go for his children have other plans.

The Estate’s Ghost

Macpherson mentions the buyer of the estate will also inherit the home’s friendly ghost.

The presence of this female ghost was first noticed while renovating the home’s kitchen. They opened a small room that had been sealed off under this room.

The ghosts name is Sarah and she has caused quite a stir over the years.

Her name is known for she at one time was a maid in the home. She fell in love with the butler but he felt she was beneath him in station.

Devastated, Sarah then threw herself from a bridge into the Raitts Burn--taking her own life.

The laird describes Sara as “kindly and well-meaning.” The family has never felt threatened by her.

She is not a traditional house ghost. She does not rattle the china or turn the lights on and off.

She instead has often folded discarded clothes left by guests of the estate. They wake to find their clothes neatly folded on the edge of their beds.

For the family she often turns the coffee pot on in the early morning and stokes the fire in the kitchen on bitterly cold days.

Twice she has been blamed for the wallpaper peeling off in one bathroom. She turned the hot water taps on and let them run full blast.

While The Telegraph crew were taping the interview with Macpherson the batteries in their microphone inexplicably went dead each time he mentioned Sarah.

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