Deeside’s ‘Muckle Blaw’ stories on film


A dinner held to commemorate the Great Gale of 1953 brought up so many memories that the organisers commissioned the making of a film.

The dinner, which took place on the 60th anniversary of the January 31, 1953, ‘Muckle Blaw’ – which devastated forests on Deeside - attracted a large attendance of estate owners, agents and foresters to hear the reminiscences of those who remember that fateful night.

The evening - and now film - were organised by Andrew Nicol (Andrew Nicol Chartered Forester) and Malcolm Nicol of Ballogie Estate who recalled stories handed down to them of caravans “birling” past windows, snow half-way up telegraph poles in Braemar, a truck struggling in first gear against the wind, people having to run as trees came crashing down and hen houses taking off across the park.

A roving microphone picked up so many stories on the night that it was decided to take on the services of local Frieda Morrison of Birseland Media Production to produce, film and direct the now available DVD entitled, The Muckle Gale 31st January, 1953.

Andrew Nicol said: “ Let’s face it, 10 years on we are not going to have so many living memories that can take us right back into that dreadful day.

‘‘We are just delighted with the job Frieda has done for us. She has captured the precious living memories told only as the local folk can tell it – though some may need a Doric dictionary to understand all they have to say!”

Jennifer Brodie, who helped with the making of the film, added: “Let’s hope we never get a gale like that again.

‘‘One lady who wrote into to order the DVD said she was at an Esslemont and McIntosh sale in Aberdeen that day and she saw one woman being blown straight across the road andclean through a shop window.”

To receive a copy of the DVD by post, send a cheque for £15, payable to Andrew Nicol Chartered Forester to: Andrew Nicol Chartered Forester, Deeside Activity Park, Dess, AB34 5BD.