The History of Aultnagar

Aultnagar is Gaelic for “laughing burn”

Beginnings

The lodge was built in 1904 by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie who was born in Dunfermline, Scotland in 1835. He amassed a huge fortune worth US$372 billion (in 2014 dollars) and during the last years of his life he gave away over 90% of this fortune to good causes across Scotland & the USA. He owned Skibo Estate of which Aultnagar was part.

Alexander (Sandy) Murray - 1851 – 1942

My grandfather, after whom I am named, a road-contractor, built more than 20 miles of hill-roads for Carnegie,–Clashmore to Sleastery for access to Lochs Laggan and Buidhe; Sleastery to Lochs Cricail’s Mor and Beag; and Sleastery to Achinduich to provide access to Loch Laro near Aultnagar. It is said that when contracts were agreed between them they would enjoy a pinch of snuff from my forbear’s snuff-box. This is surprising as Carnegie was reputed to be firmly anti-smoking!

George Murray - 1883 - 1964

My father was part of the 8-man road squad; and employed in ground-works, as roads, water and waste drainage at Aultnagar site. He thus found himself “in-charge” at Aultnagar; where he was to remain until the end of the Carnegie occupancy and beyond. The Carnegies were in residence when my father gave the news to Andrew that World War I had broken out between Great Britain and Germany in 1914. Our family was born in the Coachhouse at Aultnagar in 1925 – 33.

Since WWII

In World War II the lodge was requisitioned, housing head-quarters for an RAF Signals Unit which later joined Eisenhower’s 1st Army in North Africa, and afterwards the Orkney and Shetland Defence’s (OSDEF) Battle School took over.

Three different hotel companies have used the lodge. Now, Scottish Gospel Outreach are in ownership taking children from Glasgow and, at one time from Chernobyl on holiday.

The property is presently for sale.