Ardkinglas is a 45,000-acre estate in Cairndow, a beautiful area of the Highlands at the head of Loch Fyne. Sir Andrew Noble, the author’s great-grandfather, bought the estate in 1905 and his family have run it ever since. The estate has become famous throughout Scotland and beyond for the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar, founded by Christina Noble’s brother, Johnny. This book is not just about the Nobles but the community Ardkinglas has become, the people who make and have made it and the story of how they have lived and worked. This is not a nostalgic memoir of the Noble family, a Downton Abbey saga of life in ‘The Big House’.
Christina Noble’s aim is to try to capture the feeling of what it was like for all of the community, employers and employees, to live on a classic Highland estate during the twentieth century. It is a vivid tale, built up from letters and household diaries covering some periods and estate journals covering others. More recent decades are coloured by the personal memories of the author and many others who lived there, whose voices have been carefully recorded for this book. Ardkinglas: The Biography of a Highland Estate is illustrated throughout with pictures of the people who called Ardkinglas home, the places they knew and the activities which occupied them. As their stories are told, some key questions emerge. A Highland estate in the modern world: what is it for? What keeps it going? Who gets the benefit?