🔥 Blazing Ballater 🔥 Three fires and a flood!

last updated 6th Jan 2019

For such a small place (population 1,500) Ballater has a serious fire issue….

Quick summary…

  • On the 20th Feb 2015, Darroch Learg Hotel went up in flames
  • On 12th May 2015 (2 months 22 days later) less than half a mile away, the Royal Station went up in flames. (Neither of which were suspicious!)
  • On 30th December 2015, (10 mnth & 10 days after Hotel or 33 wks & 1 day after Station) The Cambus O’May bridge was washed away in a freak flood & the Royal/Queens Bridge was also affected
  • On 4th Jan 2020 the Glen Lui Hotel burned to the ground!

Now, if I had my tinfoil hat on, I would think maybe some sorta inbred royal type was trying to remove any residual evidence….

Strangely enough, THREE of them (The Hotel, Station & the Royal/Queens Bridge) are “Historic” Listed Buildings. A list of which can be found on wiki  List of listed buildings in Ballater

26 SEPT 2016 – The Queen to visit flood-hit Ballater residents tomorrow    

Her Majesty The Queen will visit a flood-hit Aberdeenshire community tomorrow to meet with residents whose lives were turned upside down by Storm Frank.

Around 300 homes and more than 60 businesses in Ballater were devastated by floodwaters as the River Dee burst its banks and swept through the community at the beginning of the year.

Many storefronts in the community’s main street are still empty, but after months of hard work to repair the damage the Deeside village is quickly getting back on its feet.

The monarch will tour the Ballater tomorrow, meeting with businesses and home owners who were affected by the natural disaster.

Ballater councillor Peter Argyle said: “I think this visit will be tremendous. Clearly there is a very close relationship between the whole community of Ballater and Balmoral, and The Queen and the rest of the Royal Family have shown a huge interest and a lot of concern about what happened at the start of the year. They’ve been very helpful and very supportive of the community, so I imagine this visit will be continue that pattern. I’m sure the residents of Ballater will be extremely grateful for Her Majesty to meet with them personally.” SOURCE


The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service confirmed they were called to Darroch Learg Hotel in Ballater around 4pm this afternoon.

The blaze broke out on the second floor of the category B-listed landmark and quickly spread through the roof. It is understood no one was inside the family-run three-star hotel, which had been undergoing a refurbishment at the time. Owners Nigel and Fiona Franks, whose family have run the business for more than 50 years, declined to comment last night.

However, fire chiefs said they were confident crews had managed to save two-thirds of the building. Shocked locals watched as the blaze engulfed the top two floors of the three-story Victorian property. Fierce flames could be seen leaping into the evening sky as thick, grey smoke billowed from the roof and across the village.

The Darroch Learg was built in 1888 as an elegant country residence for The Rev Dr Alexander Ogilvie (father of Dame May Ogilvie Gordon) & headmaster of Robert Gordon’s School in Aberdeen. The venue has collected numerous accolades since opening as a hotel, including coveted titles in the RAC Hospitality Awards and a place in the top 10 of Scotland’s best eateries. In 2009, it was awarded three AA red stars, maintaining its place among the UK’s top hotels, and has been recommended as an “inspector’s choice”. It is often praised for its spectacular views, which sweep south across Balmoral forest, and paths that lead directly onto Craigendarroch.  SOURCE

24th Feb 2016   Darroch Learg Hotel fire ruled NOT SUSPICIOUS

The blaze broke out in the second floor of the 127-year-old Darroch Learg Hotel in Ballater on Friday afternoon at around 3.50pm.

56 firefighters were called in to fight it, including crews from Ballater, Aboyne, Braemar and Aberdeen. The fire burned for more than six hours.

An investigation into the cause was carried out as soon as structural engineers could confirm the building was safe to enter.

Station manager Graeme Goonan said the fire investigation unit had now reported its findings to Police Scotland and that a report would be submitted to the procurator fiscal. Although the exact cause of the fire remains unknown, investigators were able to rule out possible causes such as smoking materials, gas, cooking and renovation work being carried out at the hotel.

Police Scotland had to close the A93 Ballater to Braemar road to allow eight fire engines and a height vehicle to attend. Five main jets were used, as well as two light portable pumps, generators, lighting and thermal imaging cameras. Read in full HERE



Ballater station is a former station in the village of Ballater in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It was formerly the terminus of a branch line from Aberdeen.[1] It was also the nearest station to Balmoral Castle, a personal residence of the British monarch

In August 1912, Ballater railway station played an important role when the body of Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife, the son-in-law of King Edward VII, was transferred to Mar Lodge, Braemar, from St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. The Glasgow Herald reported on the funeral.

The Station’s most infamous event on 23 Sept 1936. On this day, King Edward VIII was due to open a new hospital in Aberdeen; however, he sent the then Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth– Lizzy’s Ma & Da) in his place, citing that he was unable to attend as the Court was still in mourning. This was a foil. Edward VIII was seen at precisely the same time as the Yorks’ opened the hospital, meeting Wallis Simpson off a train at Ballater Station. Mrs Simpson at the time was the mistress of Edward VIII though this fact was relatively unknown to the British public at this time owing to a ‘silence’ in the British press. Mrs Simpson was the King’s special guest at Balmoral.[2]

In the early hours of 12 May 2015, fire crews were called out to a major blaze at the station. The fire was fought for around three hours but reports say the building was “around 90 percent destroyed”.[4] The fire is believed to have started in the Station Restaurant, one of several businesses at the station.

Royal station in Ballater destroyed by fire may 12th 2015

A historic building on Royal Deeside has been destroyed by fire. About 50 firefighters were called to the Old Royal Station in Ballater just before 02:00. The fire was brought under control, but the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said 90% of the building, which includes a shop, restaurant and a museum had been destroyed. No-one was injured. Firefighters did manage to save a replica of a Royal carriage. The replica is of a carriage which took Queen Victoria to Scotland in 1869. Read in full HERE

{PHEW… Bet that was a relief for the locals!}

Queen Victoria’s station destroyed in Ballater fire | Daily Mail Online may 13th 2015

Ballater fire Investigation finds “NO SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES”  {Just like the Hotel fire!! Can you even imagine my surprise?!}

Ballater Old Royal Station to be redeveloped after fire 16/06/16

Ballater Royal Station to rise from the ashes  17/09/16 “RISE FROM THE ASHES?” {Do they mean kinda like a Phoenix from the ashes? Just wondering!!}

Ballater Old Royal Station to be redeveloped after fire   16/06/16


Storm Frank: Balmoral bridge collapses and northern Britain battered

The Cambus O’May footbridge is ten miles from Balmoral and six miles from the Prince of Wales’s Birkhall home, was destroyed. Flood water from the River Dee has come worryingly close to Balmoral Castle after it destroyed one of the Prince of Wales’s favourite bridges. A field in front of the castle was well underwater, and the Queen is understood to have been informed of the situation.

Shops selling royal souvenirs were flooded, and the Cambus O’May footbridge over the river, ten miles from Balmoral and six miles from the Prince of Wales’s Birkhall home, was destroyed.

Another local described the water near Balmoral Estate as like “rapids”. Read in full HERE

IN PICTURES: Soldiers clear Ballater’s Royal Bridge  Troops got to work removing debris from the arches of Ballater’s Royal Bridge. The Army been called in to help with the final stages of the Storm Frank clear-up in an Aberdeenshire village devastated by flooding. Just a few miles from the Queen’s summer retreat at Balmoral Castle, troops got to work removing debris from the arches of Ballater’s Royal Bridge using specialist equipment..  Read in full HERE

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