Boleskine: Another Obituary

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The life of Ronald MacGillivray was celebrated in a delightful obituary in the Glasgow Herald in February 2002.

I missed this article when it was first published and am grateful to Frater FS – whose article regarding his stay at the house is a popular feature of this site – for bringing it to my attention.

He and his wife, Annette, bought the 210-year-old house from rock musician Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, but Mr MacGillivray hated any reference to the house’s darker past when it was home to black magician Aleister Crowley
(1875 – 1947).

Ronald MacGillivray
HERALD (GLASGOW, SCOTLAND) 18-02-2002
By Neil MacPhail

Former hotelier Ronald MacGillivray, chairman of the Clan MacGillivray International Association, was a colourful character with a grand sense of humour. It was a mark of the man that before he lost his 11-month battle with cancer he wrote his own death notice in which he stated that Glenfiddich whisky, along with family friends, neighbours, and the medical professions, had helped sustain him during his illness.

For the past 10 years the clan leader had been living in and restoring Boleskine House overlooking Loch Ness and it was there that around 200 relatives and friends gathered for his funeral service. He died aged 67.

He and his wife, Annette, bought the 210-year-old house from rock musician Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, but Mr MacGillivray hated any reference to the house’s darker past when it was home to black magician Aleister Crowley
(1875 – 1947).

His passion for his clan was marked by the efforts he put into the international association, and bedecking Boleskine House with much MacGillivray tartan.

The cigar-smoking, Rolls- Royce-driving businessman nearly always sported a carnation in his buttonhole and there is a story that once when he took the “Roller” to an Inverness carwash, both flower and smoke left rather bedraggled as he forgot to close the roof.

Mr MacGillivray was born in Ibrox, Glasgow, and went to Glasgow High School.
But being evacuated with his cousin, Isobel, to Corpach during the Second World War gave him a great love for the Highlands.

His studies at the Scottish Hotel School were interrupted by national service and he spent two years helping dispose of unexploded bombs with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, before returning to civvy street, aged 21.

Mr MacGillivray took on his first hotel in Millport where two years later he met his wife, and not long after that the couple had three more hotels in Lockerbie, Glasgow, and Garve.

He tended to be the social director and left the day-to-day running to his wife.

Boleskine House was bought in 1989 after Mr MacGillivray retired, but finding it in a run-down state and needing somewhere to live locally, they took on the Grouse and Trout bar and restaurant at Strathnairn.

One of his passions was horse-racing and he owned two successful horses, Actioned and Prince of Shoon.

He is survived by his wife, daughter, Morven, son, Blair, and grandchildren, Emily and Lynsey.

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