If Glenmazeran is indeed Richard Benyon’s place in the Highlands then I’ve just come across an interesting story from there in last year’s book, The Final Curtsey, written by Margaret Rhodes, the Queen’s cousin.
Margaret, used to pop up to Glenmazeran for a spot of fishing and shooting as any gel would. On the way up north she would sometimes call in to see the old Duchess of Portland at Welbeck Abbey who was ‘rather frightening and deaf’. This would presumably be the same Duchess of Portland who was the President of the RSPB from 1891 until her death, at the age of 90, in 1954.
Margaret writes of Glenmazeran:
‘There were eagles galore. In those days they were classed as vermin and, on a grouse-shooting estate, had to be controlled. I was allowed to use a 20-bore shotgun to help control them.
Out one day walking in a wood, something flopped out of a tree. I went bang and to my surprise the ‘something’ fell to the ground. It was an eagle and I carried my trophy home slung over my shoulders. I was immensely proud of myself and received the plaudits of the family. The downside was to be infested with ticks and lice.’
What japes! Maybe the Duchess of Portland was only feigning deafnesss – maybe she couldn’t bear to listen?