Our News

The passing of our Chieftain

Captain Alwyne Arthur Compton Farquharson M.C. of Invercauld and Monaltrie, 16th Chief of Clan Farquharson, died on 6th October 2021 at his home in Valley Farm, Norfolk. Alwyne was born on 1st May 1919, eldest son of Major Edward Compton of Newby Hall in Yorkshire and Sylvia Farquharson, younger daughter of Alexander Haldane Farquharson of Invercauld. Alwyne had no issue but had a twin sister Mary and a younger brother Robert (known as Robin), both of whom had children. He had several nephews and a niece, as well as five step-children from his two marriages and was an affectionate uncle and step-father. Alwyne’s Aunt Myrtle, sister of his mother Sylvia, was killed in a bombing raid in 1941 and shortly after the end of World War Two he moved to Aberdeenshire to assume the role of Chief and become the laird of Invercauld, roles he cherished for many decades. He dedicated himself to becoming a responsible and benevolent landowner, was known affectionately by tenants and staff as ‘The Laird’, and this role was important on account of the scale of lands he inherited. His lands spread from Aberdeenshire to Perthshire and included an estate on the Isle of Mull called Torloisk, which he later inherited from his father.

Alwyne must have been the oldest chief in Scotland, and was certainly the oldest chief in Farquharson clan history. The progenitor of the clan was Finlay Mor Farquharson, born in about 1480, died at the battle of Pinkie Cleugh in 1547, when he was hit in the chest by a cannonball fired from an English ship. He was the Royal Standard Bearer. Finlay Mor had many children, and they in turn had descendants who have spread far and wide; the clan is now scattered around the globe, with clan societies in many disparate countries ranging from the United States to Australia and New Zealand. Alwyne was always keen to meet clan members and welcomed them, regaling them with stories of Farquharson activities.  He was always interested in their ties to genealogy and Scotland.

Educated at Eton College and then Magdalen College, Oxford, Alwyne’s studies in Land Economy were interrupted by the outbreak of the World War Two, just after his twentieth birthday.  At the outbreak of war he enlisted for training, and joined the Royal Scots Greys. He went through the ranks, and attained the rank of Captain, an achievement he was proud of and became known as Captain Farquharson, or to some simply; ‘the Captain’. He was injured at the Battle for Caen, on June 10th 1944, and was awarded the Military Cross in 1945.

Alwyne married firstly, in 1949 Frances Gordon (born Oldham), and after Frances’s death in 1991 he married secondly Patricia de Winton (born Simms-Adams). Alwyne held many appointments in Aberdeenshire, including being a Member of the Aberdeenshire County Council from 1949 to 1975, Chieftain of the Ballater Highland Games for over 70 years, and Vice-Patron of the Braemar Royal Highland Gathering. In his role as Chieftain of the Ballater Highland Games he never missed one, marching onto the field every year for 73 years, including his last in 2019 at the grand age of 100. The only reason Alwyne resigned from his Chiefship (one year before his death), was that he felt it would be improper to be wheeled onto the field, that it would bring down the tempo of the event.

The funeral will be held at St Mary’s Church in Burnham Deepdale (date and time to be confirmed). A memorial will be held at Braemar Castle in Aberdeenshire at the beginning of the second week of August, alongside other clanship celebrations, in 2022.

2020 Virtual Games

On what would have been Games Day 2020 Ballater went virtual by holding our 2020 Vision Games, on social media. We asked that folk at home and overseas post pictures or film clips of themselves either taking part or spectating at Highland Games.

On the morning of Thursday 12th August we welcomed The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay down from Birkhall to raise our Games Standard to mark the occasion of Games Day. Philip Farquharson stood in for his Great uncle, our Chieftain Capt. Alwyne Farquharson of Invercauld.

2020 Virtual Games

Our Vice Chairman, Scott Fraser welcomed His Royal Highness and Mr Farquharson and had arranged for Pipe Major, James Cooper of Ballater and District Pipeband to play Invercauld House.

Pipe Major, Peter Grant played the tune he composed Leal and Siccar.
Also attending was Games compere Robert Lovie.

Due to  Government Guidelines and social distancing we held two standard raisings.

At a later ceremony members of the Games Committee attended a similar raising of the Standard.

Alexander Cornelius Copland (1933 - 2020)

Alex Copland, a Past Chairman of Ballater Highland Games, sadly but peacefully passed away last month after having had health issues over the last few years. In these unprecedented times, unfortunately it was not possible to have a service which would have enabled the Games Committee to pay their last respects to a true gentleman and a Highland Games stalwart. The Ballater & District Pipe Band would also have been in attendance.

Alex was a Ballater loon, having been born in Ballater on 15th August 1933. He was educated in Ballater until, at age 15, he started a gardening apprenticeship at the House Of Glenmuick. It was there that he first met Rosie, whose grandfather was Head Gardener. (It would be some time before they married as Rosie was then the sweet age of 10!)
After three years, Alex was called to do his National Service with the Black Watch in Korea and Kenya. On his return home, he worked for Aberdeen Parks, before he ventured down to England. He and Rosie married and had their daughters Alison in Northampton and Karen in Somerset. Eventually the family came back to Aberdeen from many places in between. Alex became Depute Director of Leisure and Tourism in Aberdeen, but had to take early retirement due to ill health, and came back to Ballater in 1995.

That same year he was approached to sell Programmes at the Games, and the love affair with Ballater Highland Games began! He eventually became Chairman in 2004 until his retirement in 2011, when he handed over to our present Chairman John Sinclair.

Alex was very active in many groups in the Ballater community, and this was recognised some four years ago when he was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the community. As well as the Games, Alex was involved with local organisations including Probus, horticulture, dancing, hillwalking, and Walking to Health. He also organised an old school reunion when 200 ex pupils and their partners attended a week of events - a great success!

We send our condolences to Rosie, his children, grandchildren, and great grandchild, and shall miss a greatly respected, true Ballater loon - may he rest in peace.

Alex and Rosie


We invite any enquiries about Sponsorship by e-mail to: or

We thank again the businesses that sponsored the 2019 Games. They were:

For Highland Dancing competitions:

Hilton Grand Vacations 
Ian Rodger Architects, Ballater & Aberdeen
McCue & Porter, Aberdeen Quantity Surveyors
Laurie & Co, Solicitors Ballater & Aberdeen
Auld Kirk Hotel, Ballater

For Piping competitions:

Braemar Mountain Sports, Ballater & Braemar 
Glenmuick Estate
Roaring Stag Coffee Roasters, Ballater
Inchgeal Lodge B & B, Ballater
Shorty’s Ice Cream Parlour

For Hill Race, Track & Light Field competitions:

George Strachan Ltd, Licensed Grocers Ballater & Aboyne
Axis Well Technology, Engineering Consultants, Aberdeen
Invercauld Estate
Brakeley Gift Room, Ballater

For Heavy Field competitions and Tug o’ War:

Wilkies Ltd, Department Store, Ballater, Banchory & Edinburgh
Geordie Catto / Neil Catto Plumbing, Banchory

For Tilt the Bucket:

H.M.Sheridan, Ballater Butchers


Deeside Water Company
Ballater Community Enterprise Ltd, Caravan Site Management
Glen Tanar Estate

Past Programmes

Our Vice Chairman Scott Fraser is looking to track down any pre-year 2000 copies of our Ballater Highland Games Programmes for our archive.

Any help with this would be very much appreciated.

If you know Scott, please contact him direct. Otherwise, please e-mail any information to or

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