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Issue 11 - Andrew Bradford's Grampians, Orkney and Shetland

Scotland Magazine Issue 11
November 2003


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Andrew Bradford's Grampians, Orkney and Shetland

Andrew Bradford, Manager of Kincardine Estate, gives us his views of the region

Q: Why did you choose to live and work in the Grampians?

A: I took over the running of my family’s estate in Deeside. I grew up here and anyone who has travelled would appreciate that it is one of the most beautiful places on earth and one of the finest places to live.

Q: How would you describe the area to someone who has never visited it?

A: Silvery salmon rivers bordered by farmland producing the finest beef cattle and barley for whisky. Lush and sometimes ancient forest, heathery hills and cloud-topped mountains pocked with snow even in summertime.

Q: What are, in your opinion, the main attractions in the Grampian region?

A: The people, their history and culture, the scenery, a clean and safe environment. Folk can sleep well here with an open window and no need for whirring air-conditioning. If I was to market Scotland to the world I’d focus on the cool and fresh air as a major selling point to all those who have to put up with 300 days a year of sun and scorching summers – poor things.

Q: Describe your ideal day out in the local area?

A: A day on the hill walking up a few grouse with some friends followed by a warm bath and a fine dinner.

Q: Tell us a little about Kincardine Castle?

A: My great grandmother knocked down a perfectly sensible house and built this pile. It’s a special place – peaceful, solid and yet graceful, with lots of natural daylight within and full of music provided by every member of the family. It is a Scots baronial building with a touch of arts and crafts thrown in – a rare Scottish specimen. When full of people it really comes alive and becomes the ideal entertaining machine.

Q: Who do you consider a Scottish hero, either historical or modern?

A: Modern: My father. He had a war record that reads like a film script and I had the great fortune to know and love him. Historical: Malcolm Canmore – his route to becoming king of all Scotland took a great step forward with the slaying of Macbeth just a few hundred yards from this estate.

Q: What are your impressions of the Orkney and Shetland Isles?

A: Orkney – a green and fertile land with some of the finest livestock I’ve ever seen. The historical sites are simply wonderful. It is mind-boggling that such a small community could invest in such a wonderful cathedral a thousand years ago. Shetland strikes me as
altogether a more sturdy, less fertile land where life is more focused towards the sea. Both are beautiful and enjoy the most wonderful light from ever-changing skies.

Q: Is there anywhere you regularly go to eat out in your area?

A: We’re very lucky to have chefs like Gordon Ramsay, Anthony Worrall-Thomson and others come to cook for us here at Kincardine for special occasions so we’re completely spoilt. On the rare occasion we do go out we dine at the excellent Darroch Learg Hotel in Ballater. In Orkney, try the Scorrabrae Inn at Orphir – the chef and owner, Patricia Lie’s food is simply excellent.

Q: Are there any local dishes that you particularly enjoy?

A: Almost all seafood and also our finest roast sirloin of Aberdeen Angus beef, and noisettes of lamb, fillet of roe venison, young grouse,
roast pheasant and a cold roast partridge.