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Top of the Foreman Hill

Cairtie Fun

Back: Doug Stewart and Robbie Innes

Seated: Jean and Margaret McPherson

Liz Innes (now Morrison) and Sandy Baird

Sandy and Jim Baird

Helen, Hamish, Jean & Margaret


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Charlie and Ian

The McPhersons

Jean and Jock McPherson

The McPherson family formed a key part of the fabric of the local society of post second war Kinnoir and were always involved in the activities, whether formal or informal, that took place in the vibrant social life of the community. A tight knit and close family of seven children, their friendly nature and natural enthusiasm ensured that they were always sought out when a new game or scheme was being planned.

Charlie and Ian


Helen, Hamish, Jeanie and Margaret

The family were also well versed in the ways of nature and many children in Kinnoir learned about the natural environment from playing in the fields or hills with one or more of this remarkable family. They lived on a small croft called Woodend half way between Kinnoir School and Broomfold Farm. The croft had belonged to Mrs Jeanie McPherson's Mum and Jeanie had moved to the croft to look after her in her aging years.  

Jeanie lived at the croft when her Mum  passed away and not long after that had married Jock McPherson and started to raise her family on the croft in Kinnoir.

Jock had been born in 1897 and had a distinguished military career during the 1st World War.

He had served in India, North Africa and Europe and had eventually been wounded during action in France when an enemy bullet had hit him in the face. The bullet passed though his cheek and out under his chin taking a piece of Jock's tongue with it. That Jock was very lucky to survive this incident goes without saying but he recovered to continue in uniform till the end of the war when he was eventually de-mobbed and returned to the Northeast of Scotland.

A bit of tongue was missing and some scars remained but it did not stop Jock telling a few amusing stories when the opportunity arose.

Jock had and enquiring mind and was an avid reader. He had picked up a smattering of Hindi during his time in India so the Indian man named Ramatullah who came round the doors of Kinnoir with his suitcase of silk scarves was always invited in for a chat so that Jock could refresh his linguistic skills. Jock never claimed to be fluent but communication of a sort did happen which pleased everyone.

Jock's wife Jean had been born in Grange in 1909 but had moved to Kinnoir at the start of the 1st World War and had spent her primary school years as a pupil at Kinnoir School where she distinguished herself and won many prizes.

When she grew up Jean was very active in Kinnoir and worked at various farms honing her cooking skills in the kitchens. Later she worked at Kinnoir School as cleaner and much loved dinner lady from 1957 to 1962.

 When Jock came back to the North East after the first war he was mainly involved in farmwork and was first "fee'd" at Gartly, then at Drumdelgie near Huntly and eventually at Lower Costlyburn in Kinnoir. And it was here, while working at Lower Costlyburn, that he met Jean and they decided to tie the knot. So, in 1942, they married and set up home in the cottage at Woodend.

Jock and Jean on their Wedding Day

The children came along soon after that. First came Charlie, then Ian followed by Mabel, Helen, Margaret, Hamish and Jean ensuring that a whole generation of children in Kinnoir has a friend called McPherson close to their age.

Life was not easy at the croft, however, as there was no piped water and no mains electricity but everyone had their chores to do to help with the household tasks. Margaret remembers that it was her job to fetch the water some mornings before school. This had to be done and, if she was late for the school bus, then it was up to her to run to catch up - the water still had to be brought to the house whether she was late for school or not!

Cooking was done on a “girdle” hung over the open fire but this was handled with ease by Mrs Jean McPherson after a lifetime of practice!!! Indeed her local oatcakes (or "breid” in the Doric) were famous and quite delicious.

But despite the chores there was always time for play at Kinnoir and many hours were spent climbing trees or hills, gathering wild fruits, snaring rabbits, catching fish in the burns, building "cairties" or just generally exploiting the wonders of the countryside and the local farms.

As the family grew up this inventive spirit helped make things a little easier at the cottage. The local burn was dammed and a water wheel installed which first charged a battery to provide light for the cottage but then was modified to run a dynamo which produced enough power to extend the lights within the house.

Ultimately a generator was installed which brought modern conveniences such as the Television to the cottage.

But the family eventually all went their separate ways. Ian and Charlie to London and the girls also went off to follow their own careers while Hamish became a builder in Huntly.

Sadly Jock died in 1974 at age 77. This left Jean on her own on the croft so she moved into Huntly, first to stay with Hamish but eventually to stay in a modern flat in Huntly which was much easier to manage than the rigours of country life at Woodend.

 Jean passed away in 1992 at age 86 .

By this time the cottage at Woodend had been demolished and the land at the croft now hosts an Industrial Training Centre - which is a very fitting development when you consider the generations of Kinnoir children who learned so much about life and the countryside from the McPhersons at Woodend Kinnoir.


Postscript:-    Where are they now?

Charlie lives in Sussex. He was a Tax Consultant before retiring.

Ian had a haulage business in Essex before retiring there.

Mabel lives in Bridge of Weir. She was a House mother at Quarries Homes then worked at the Epilectic Unit there before retiring.

Helen lives in Craigellachie. Helen worked at The Macallan Distillery before retiring.

Margaret lives at Auchleven near Insch. Margaret worked at Netherha Home for the elderly at Buckie before retiring.

Hamish lives in Huntly. Hamish had his own builders business before retiring.

Jean lives in Huntly at worked at the Rothieden unit at Huntly hospital before retiring.

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