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Alvie (Scottish Gaelic: Albhaidh) is a small crofting hamlet, a working Scottish highland estate and civil parish, located on the south shore of Loch Alvie in the Badenoch and Strathspey area of Inverness-shire, within the Scottish council area of Highland.
Alvie sits in Cairngorm National Park and is part of Alvie and Dalraddy Estates which extend into the Monadhliath hills from the River Spey, famous for its fishing and whisky and overlook the Cairngorm Mountain range in National Park.
Alvie Estate History
In the early nineteenth century Alvie was owned by the Macpherson-Grants of Ballindalloch. In 1862 the property appears to have been in the ownership of James Evan Baillie, the predecessor of Lord Burton of Dochfour. By 1867 the estate was purchased or tenanted by Sir John Ramsden, an industrialist from northern England who planted up around 2,000 acres (800 hectares) of what was described as moor land to forestry for timber production. He later purchased and moved to Ardverikie Estate which his descendants still own.
In 1905 Alvie was purchased by Sir Robert Boville (Bertie) Whitehead who owned Alvie until 1923. Sir Robert was the grandson of Robert Whitehead who invented the torpedo. The Whitehead family married into some of the most influential in Europe with Bertie’s cousin Marguerite marrying Herbert von Bismark, son of the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck, whilst another cousin Agathe Whitehead, fell in love with and married an Austrian Kapitanleutnant Georg Johannes Von Trapp. Agathe died of scarlet fever in 1922 leaving Georg to bring up their 7 children with the help of a governess from the nearby Benedictine Nunnery, who taught them music. The musical the Sound of Music is based on the story of von Trapp and the governess Maria von Trapp who he later married. The Whitehead family had a factory in Weybridge in England and another on the Baltic run by von Trapp. During the First World War the Baltic factory supplied the German navy with torpedoes whilst the factory at Weybridge supplied the British navy.
Robert Whitehead deer fenced much of the Estate and invested large sums in extending Alvie House and improving the stock of red deer. The remains of the deer fence erected around 1908 can still be seen.
The Estate was sold in 1923 to Lady Carnarvon shortly after the untimely death of her husband, Lord Carnarvon, 5th Earl of Carnarvon. Lord Carnarvon broke into the Tutankhamun tombs in Egypt. He and his son died within a year of each other (the Tutankhamun curse). The Carnarvan family also own Highclere Castle which is the shooting location of the hit TV show Downton Abbey. Lady Carnarvon set up Balchurn (Home Farm) as a model dairy farm. She and her soon to be her 2nd husband, Lt Colonel Ian Onslow Dennistoun also invested in grouse shooting.
Alvie Estate was purchased by the Williamson family in 1927 primarily for its field sports. The family had previously been Liberal MPs for Moray and Nairn since 1906 and had land holdings in Angus. Alexander Williamson, who purchased Alvie Estate in 1927 and Dalraddy Estate in 1929, was a younger son of the MP. Around the time of his death in 1930 the Estates were put into a limited liability company Alvie Estate Ltd. His nephew Gerald Williamson managed the Estates for his widow until her death in 1956. He organised the replanting of most of the woodland areas felled during the 2 world wars. He purchased Invereshie Farm in 1957 and later Blackmill, Balnespick and part of Ballintean Farms at the bottom end of Glenfeshie. These farms are now owned and farmed by his youngest daughter Jane Williamson. Gerald Williamson died in 1966.
In 1966 Gerald’s son Fergus Williamson transferred the Estates out of Alvie Estate Ltd. and into his ownership following advice that any sale of the assets would result in double taxation. In January 1972 Alvie and Dalraddy Estates were transferred into a Discretionary Trust but retaining Alvie House and policies in the ownership of Fergus Williamson. The class of beneficiaries were his children and grandchildren.
Fergus Williamson was part of a consortium who invested in downhill skiing in the Cairngorms. He helped build Glenfeshie gliding club on land now owned by Jane Williamson and in 1968 opened Dalraddy Caravan Park (now Dalraddy Holiday Park). He also turned parts of Alvie House into self catering holiday accommodation and rented out the grouse shooting and deer stalking on a commercial basis.
In 1983 Dalraddy Estate was transferred into the ownership of Jamie Williamson, the eldest son of Fergus Williamson. Alvie Farm was transferred into a limited partnership with Jamie Williamson being the general partner and Alvie Trust the limited partner. Following the death of Fergus Williamson in 1987 the widow of Fergus transferred ownership of Alvie House and policies to their eldest son Jamie Williamson in 1991.
- 1. McDonald
- 2. McBain
- 3. Grant
- 4. McIntosh
- 5. Fraser
- 6. McPherson
- 7. Cameron
- 8. Kennedy
- 9. McGregor
- 10. McKenzie