ExRannoch

Obituaries

John Fleming

                                  Peter Orton

                                   Dougal Geig

 

 

 

Founders

A J S Greig (Dougal)

Whose death is recorded: "Peacefully, at home, on January 14, 2013, Dougal Greig, aged 90 years, one of the founders and first headmaster of Rannoch School, and a much loved uncle, inspirational teacher and friend to many."

The funeral was on 23rd Jan
Morton Hall Crematorium, Edinburgh.

Obituary from The Scotsman

Dougal Greig, fearless and inspirational founder of Rannoch School

Published on Saturday 2 February 2013

Born: 12 February, 1922, in Leith. Died: 14 January, 2013, in Edinburgh, aged 90

THERE was never any doubt that Dougal Greig was fearless: legendary tales of his courage abound. Saving stricken wartime pilots from the sea; winning a tussle with a wounded crocodile (subsequently a handbag for his mother); hurtling along at the wheel of an ambulance, his severed finger in a matchbox; lying prostrate in the snow, a human extension to a disappointingly short ski jump.

All demonstrated his grit and daring, albeit a certain propensity to get himself into the occasional scrape. However, he was also gentle, empathetic, nurturing and kind – a powerful and charismatic mix of qualities that made him the inspirational leader of one of Scotland’s most admired schools.

As a [ one of the] founder[s] and the first headmaster of remote Rannoch School, he oversaw the tutelage of countless boys, fulfilling his dream of offering a holistic education based on the pursuit of all-round excellence. And though serious illness brought his time at Rannoch to an end after less than a decade, half a century on he is still remembered with deep affection by the “old boys” whose futures he helped to shape.

“When he offered me a place I felt I could belong there,” said one. “That never changed”.

Born in Leith and christened Alexander, Greig was the son of veterinary surgeon John Russell Greig CBE, a director of Edinburgh’s Moredun Institute, and his wife Margaret, daughter of a successful haulier.
He grew up in the family home in Liberton, attending Edinburgh Academy along with his elder brother, Alastair, and was a talented writer from an early age. As a schoolboy he had some poems published and, to avoid playground teasing, used the pseudonym Dougal, a name he went on to adopt permanently.

By the time he left school the Second World War was already under way and he joined the RAF, serving in Air Sea Rescue. As coxswain skipper of a rescue launch, he pulled downed pilots from the bitter North Sea and later from the Atlantic off the coast of Sierra Leone. By nature he was imperturbable and opposed to violence but he served with courage and fortitude.

While stationed in Freetown he braved shark-infested waters to free his propeller and went nocturnal crocodile hunting on the Sierra Leone River, which served as a runway for Sunderland flying boats patrolling the Atlantic. It was full of crocs, a dangerous hazard to locals, and armed with a rifle and searchlight he and his colleague would hunt them down from their launches. On one memorable occasion, with their quarry wounded but still alive, Greig leapt overboard landing up to his knees in mud, and threw a rope round the astonished croc’s jaws before both he and it were dragged back to the boat. In due course, some of the crocodile’s hide made its way back to Edinburgh in the shape of a handbag for his mother.

After the war, he studied at Oxford University’s Lincoln College, graduating with distinction in politics, philosophy and economics before gaining a teaching qualification at Moray House, Edinburgh.
He taught at Strathallan School and then moved to Altyre house, an annex of Gordonstoun School, 16 miles from the main school buildings. Teaching history, French and running the rugby team allowed his talent for bringing out the best in people to come into its own. It was while at Altyre that the idea for the school that was to be the love of his life was born. He wanted to carve a niche in the educational establishment, a safe and secure place where boys could learn and grow – providing the means for his charges to achieve their potential in the pursuit of the highest standards.

His family money bought remote Dall House on the shores of Loch Rannoch in Perthshire and, together with co-founders Pat Whitworth and John Fleming, he created Rannoch School. The doors opened in September 1959 with 82 boys but, as word spread, pupil numbers rose steadily.
The ethos set by its founders, and especially by Greig, was certainly of academic achievement but it was also one of endeavour, adventure and community. In the early days boys picked stones from the newly created rugby pitch, helped dig the swimming pool and were formed into a loch patrol, mountain rescue team and volunteer fire service. They also survived camping on the side of Schiehallion in plastic bags.

Greig’s interests were purely in his pupils and the school. When he discovered they had made a ski jump that he deemed too short, he lay down in the snow, complete in academic gown, and exhorted them to fly even further over him.

He cared little for material things – striding the corridors in venerable black suit – and his own accommodation was a bedroom in the top turret where the only means of escape in a fire was through the window, via rope tied to the wash-hand basin taps. He once tested the theory with a sack of sand. The taps were yanked out of the basin and the sack, rope and taps plummeted to the ground.
On another occasion, bleeding heavily, he drove himself to hospital in the school ambulance, after losing a finger, thought to be the result of having stuck it in the fire siren while testing the malfunctioning alarm. The recovered digit, transported in a matchbox, was later re-attached.
Affectionately nicknamed The Bat, he cut a striking figure in his billowing black gown and he insisted on standards of dress. He was once caught by surprise, by the arrival of a Rolls-Royce, whilst casually clad and investigating a septic tank. Rather than be seen in such attire, he ordered two boys to salute the passing car while a third dangled him by the ankles over the tank to conceal his presence.

Despite the energies devoted to Rannoch, he still found time to write. His collection of poems was largely in Scots vernacular – some comic, some serious and moving, many in praise of the natural beauty he saw each day.

Though ill-health forced his early retirement from Rannoch in the late 1960s, it was not the end of his teaching career.

After a period of recovery and a spell in Kenya where his brother was working, he did locum teaching at Edinburgh Academy and various state schools. But he never lost his interest in the “old boys” of Rannoch and they reciprocated.

Many regularly wrote to and visited him, a considerable number attended his funeral while a flood of tributes reflected their admiration and affection for a man who profoundly influenced their lives.

“I feel privileged to have had my formative years under his tutelage and attribute much of my later success in life to my years at Rannoch,” wrote one. “He will live long, and fondly, in my memory”.

Greig, who never married, is survived by three nieces, Anne-Margaret, Fiona and Patricia.

ALISON SHAW

 

Obituary from the Glasgow Herald 

Dougal Greig
Headmaster and an inspiration for a generation of pupils at Rannoch School

Glasgow Herald/ allan laing

 

Born: February 12, 1922; Died: January 14, 2013.

DOUGAL Greig, who has died aged 90, was the idiosyncratic co-founder and first headmaster of Rannoch School. Largely as a result of his vision, charm and enthusiasm, it became one of the most successful private boarding schools in Scotland.

Situated on the remote south shore of Loch Rannoch in Perthshire, it was established within the fabric of Dall House, originally the seat of the Robertson clan chief. When Mr Greig arrived there in the late 1950s the building was in a dilapidated state. Having purchased the property from the Forestry Commission for £1500, he and his co-founders, Pat Whitworth and John Fleming, began the massive task of refurbishment, carrying out much of the practical work themselves.
They advertised for boarders in the Daily Telegraph, uncertain exactly what kind of response they might receive. They need not have worried. There were more than 150 applications for the school's first intake.

The school's ethos was enshrined in the principle of "in pursuit of all- round excellence" and based on the philosophies of Kurt Hahn, the German-born founder of Gordonstoun School. Like the Moray school, outdoor adventure would play an important role at Rannoch.
Alexander John Smart Greig, known throughout his adult life as "Dougal", was born in Leith.  His mother, Margaret, was the daughter of a successful haulier, and his father, Russell, a distinguished veterinary surgeon who was director of the Moredun Research Foundation in Edinburgh. He had one brother, William, who followed in his father's footsteps and became a vet. The family moved to Liberton in Edinburgh when the brothers were young.
Dougal Greig was educated at Edinburgh Academy. After leaving school he was called up for war service. He enlisted in the RAF and served in its Air Fleet Rescue arm. This being before the days of helicopters, he became a coxswain on a rescue boat, sailing in the North Atlantic and picking up airmen whose planes had ended up in the sea. Later, having been transferred to carry out the same job off the coast of West Africa, his characteristic bravado came into play when he caught a crocodile. Legend has it that part of it later became his mother's handbag.
It was while in the RAF that he adopted the name Dougal. He had previously been known as "Jack" but discovered to his dismay that in the Armed Services every Scotsman was called Jock. Having used Dougal as a pen name when writing poetry, he decided that henceforth it would be the name by which he would be known.

After the war he went to Lincoln College Oxford, where he studied politics, philosophy and economics. Graduating in 1949, he returned to Edinburgh and gained a teaching qualification at Moray House. He then taught history at Strathallan School in Perthshire, where he was a house master, before moving to a similar post at Gordonstoun.
Dougal Greig was a popular and successful educator at Gordonstoun, teaching at its independent annex Altyre House. However, in 1957 the young teacher, together with his Altyre colleagues, Messrs Whitworth and Fleming, came up with the idea to start their own school, eventually buying Dall House and its 25 acres of land.

It opened for business in September 1959, with Mr Greig as headmaster. The first intake numbered 82 boys, many more than the 30 or 40 they had expected. Word spread rapidly and by its second year the school roll stood at 138. At the height of its popularity it had 300 pupils.
During his time as headmaster, Mr Greig had a profound influence on the lives of the boys who attended the school. Rannoch, which eventually became co-educational, had an enviable academic record. It closed in 2002 but by then Mr Greig had long retired due to ill health and returned to live in the family home in Edinburgh.
During his time in charge he made sure the school was not just a place of learning, it was also part of the community. It helped with mountain rescue operations and had its own ambulance and a lifeboat, serving Loch Rannoch. The lifeboat, however, was not entirely successful. Purchased second-hand in Edinburgh, its engine and hull were carefully restored at the school. However, at its official "launch" ceremony – and with Mr Greig at the helm – it gracefully entered the water....and promptly sank. The former coxswain had to be rescued by the Loch Patrol.

Dougal Greig, who never married, was a lifelong poet. However, his self-deprecating manner ensured that his work was never published. There are now plans by his family to publish the poetry posthumously.
He is survived by his three nieces, Anne Margaret, Fiona and Patricia.

  

Names of those who are unable to attend and have asked to be remembered.  

Pat and Jane Whitworth John Fifer,  Winston Alston,  Jim HolyoakeHugh Fell

Anthony Gore-Browne, David Leech, Simon Stoker, Keith Mackay, Neil Duncan, David Darby,

Robin Norwell, Earl of Cromartie (Hon John), Peter Lord, Anthony MacLaurin, Neil Dishington,

Nigel Robson, James Chassels, Nick Calder, Keith Smith, Alan BeetonJGS (Jimmie) Duncan,

Michael Banks

 

Tributes received so far.

If you would like to add a few words please use the email link.

Jim Bryant (Wade 1965-68) 14 February
 Sad to hear of such a legend passing on, all those who crossed his path will never forget him.
 I first met him at the (never to be forgotten) interview, fortunately my academic prowess was not tested and a few months later (after getting less than 40% in my common entrance exam) my parents received a wonderful letter from Dougal saying I had passed!!!
 One of my abiding memories was that ******* wall at the bottom of the hockey pitch, he was utterly obsessed with it, in fact he became known as Hadrian through that faze. I remember hurrying to a lesson, loaded with books when he accosted me saying  "boy boy come  here, there is a stone under that rhododendron bush, go in and fetch it for me", which I duly did and off he would go with this huge lump of granite tucked under his arm, off down to the hockey pitch.
 Another memory which always sticks with me was when he was leaving, I think there was some sort of a presentation in the gym, I guess it was at the end of term as the parents were all seated at the front and the boys at the back. My Mother and Father said that the applause and cheering for him that came from us at the back was quite staggering and moving and made it very clear how much we thought of him.  In retrospect I hope it rattled the cages of those who had shamefully pressurised him into leaving.
 Having read the tributes posted so far it has re-empathised how fortunate I was to have been at Rannoch during his time, something that perhaps I was not aware of at the time but has been abundantly clear for the 45 years since.
 Great memories.

Ian Lamb 14 January
Very sorry to hear this news. Dougal WAS Rannoch in so many ways. I think we might all have been different people -- usually for the worse -- had it not been for Dougal's influence through the school.

Hugh Fell 14 January
Very sad news and a great loss. He "made us!" Thank you Simon for being on the ball and getting all the necessary information. If I/we can help, let the "originals" help , if possible.

Simon Stoker 14 January
We all owe him and Pat and John a great deal.
I made a point, on the dedication page of my first book (on canal restoration - boring!) of
acknowledging the help of many people and:
"..Pat, John and Dougal, without whose example and leadership I would never have had the courage to be part of the team".
And I meant every word.

Neil Duncan (Early Wade) 14 Jan
Dougal was one who was truly a 'force of nature'. One that the early generation of Rannocharians were priviliged to have as a teacher and mentor. Long after he left the school, the benefits of his vision for the school, his wise council and the ethos he instilled in the establishment were being felt - but it was not always recognised from whom they came. A great man, and we are all the poorer by his passing.

Peter Bailey 14 January
Dougal was Rannochians without him Rannochians would never have been. I know he was supported by Paddy and John but I am sure they would say he was the driver. Very sad day.

Dave Darby here from Bahrain.  
I joined Rannoch the first term, Barracks and then Wade and left in December 1962, just over 50 years ago. 
What a fantastic man Dougal was.  Memories of him marching down the aisle at assembly in the gym, always in a black suit, his long dark hair and his gown flowing behind.  
He loved his rugby, he would be watching a game from the sideline and encouraging the boys. The next thing he was in the scrum, still in his black suit but now covered in mud and grass stains, always in the thick of the game!
 
We all learned much from him and are truly privileged to have known him, he was in a class of his own.  
 Rest in Peace Dougal
   

Doug Prain 15 January
Not just the founder but also the keystone of Rannoch when I was there. I intend to attend the funeral if possible, although I owe him much more than that.


Alan Mackay
14 January
Knew it was coming, but still bereft........................

Howard Renwick 14 January
Sad to hear about Dougal's death. He was certainly a real character and along with Paddy and John carried out a fantastic amount of work developing the school.

Jamie Jardine  15 Jan.
He certainly was a great man who had an influence on all of us who were fortunate to know him. 
I would like to remember him as a person who enjoyed life to the full!
I remember once in the winter when Dougal appeared on the front hill of the main building  and decided to join us for winter sports. We sat on a very large sled of some description and went off down the double bank with Dougal in front wearing his suit. Needless to say we came off when going over the second slope and went rolling down to the bottom. Dougal roared with laughter and so did the rest of us. What an afternoon!
Dougal had his serious side too and I remember being on the receiving end of his cane for being caught smoking Woodbines in the woods. I received a lecture on smoking and then his cane on my backside. After it was all over (I couldn't sit down) he wanted to chat about Bermuda as if we were friends enjoying each other's company and having a nice chat! I just wanted to go and walk off the sting on my backside!

Robin Oldman
This news is perhaps the worst of all.
I had managed to write two letters to Mr. Greig (I still can't come to
address that man as Dougal) and was very surprised when a Christmas card
arrived from him. I am embarrassed and belittled to say that I didn't send
one in return.
He would perhaps have recalled my first term at Rannoch in 1959 when, after
a period of weeks, my parents placed a call to the school (no trunk dialing
then) to ask him if he still had me in the school and if I was OK.
I was summoned to Mr. Greig's study - the dark forbidding room on the
southwest corner of the house - and asked why I had not written to my
parents. I forget the excuse, but essentially I was having such a good time
it never occurred to me to write to anyone. And I have been similarly
afflicted ever since.
Now, yet another opportunity to communicate has slipped away from me.
I have long appreciated just how much Rannoch did for me - the staff, the
situation, the other boys both friendly and no so friendly, the ethos, the
routine, the cross-mountain and morning runs, and yes the stone-picking in
the rain.
The memory is ever present and now I have more time to recall those days, I
miss the dramatis personae the more.
Please remember the other two giant figures of Rannoch, Messers Whitworth
and Fleming, whose vision it originally was.

David Leech 15 Jan
I always remember getting the cane for smoking along with many others, I think it was during a purge and got 6 of the best from Dougal. But the best of it was when he finished he brushed the cigaret ash of his black gown ( being a smoker himself ) and advised me never to do it again.
He was an amazing and inspirational man who had the foresight to start an amazing institution with John Fleming and Pat Whitworth I think we ( the founding members especially)owe them all a great debt.

Martin Williams Wade 62-67  15 Jan
I remember Dougal quite well. The first was an induction to Rannoch like
Ian's, though no test. Just the emergency of Head boy Grant being
resuscitated from his sailing misfortune and near drowning on the loch.
Fetched by the Ambo, Grant white as a sheet and ushered to his study sodden
in a blanket passed my amazed parents, was then in the adjoining office
administered whisky. This was retrieved from a hiding place known by Miss
Davidson and quite liberally administered, I gather. All my parents could
hear was Dougal saying to Grant 'this is not the time to die, we have new
prospective parents were here and could he put on a good show and explain
his amazing Loch Patrol rescue'. Grant obliged and with my parents
impressed with Grant's story of survival (my father a Navy man), I was
immediately put down for the school. Another was the 'birds and the bees'
sex interventions to which he would reputedly never get to the point,
sucking in these quite extraordinary long breaths in embarrassment, to the
gaze of many youthful eyes, and eagerly attentive ears.  Miss Davidson
would reappear at just the wrong moment. (God knows the results of girls at
the receiving end of these bizarre lectures!) Another sexploit was his
keenness to separate two lovemaking labradors on the Beastie green between
Wentworth and Potteries. This gathered a vast, fascinated crowd. it proved
to be  quite a spectacle. These unfortunate animals became more tangled and
more strongly wedged, one upside down to the other, as he threw more water
upon them. Dougal would not give up, such was his perspicacity. Dougal's
Bat night patrols were another legend already recounted. Another was his
dash to Perth hospital with his finger in a matchbox. He drove himself in
the Ambo after a large rock he was retrieving from the rugby pitch using
the Navy blue lorry/hoist, fell heavily on his hand. He recounted the tale
saying he had the alarm on all the way and he said bleeding heavily he
never did much less than 55mph. His finger was stitched back on. And the
great Ariadne. I remember the sad day well. The new Ford? car engine had
been primed on dry land and the boat prepared and prepared. But subterfuge
had ensured that for every day the boat had been worked apon, another 1
inch hole had been drilled in its hull below the water line and cleverly
painted over. Months would pass before an engine was mounted. Unsuspecting
Dougal launched the boat with much fanfare but was soon going in much the
same direction as Grant some years earlier, as water poured through its
hull, engulfing the entire boat. Dougal despite his keenness to stay on
board had to be rescued from doing down in his ship by the same Loch
Patrol. Dougal gave us much, his fairness in often quite difficult
circumstances, his gift of teaching, though making us listen was a
remarkable talent he had. And his leadership. We have much to miss about
this great, extraordinarily gifted man.

Alan Mackay
In 1961 I was living in Holland and had been earmarked for boarding school. My father and I flew to Edinburgh with a list of three possibles, Glenalmond, Strathallan & Rannoch. We drove to the farthest first and didn’t bother with the other two. Dougal “interviewed” me and guided me through the “entrance exam” along the lines of “Can you write your name?” and “What is 5 x 5?”. I was in awe of him. Dressed all in black, swept back black hair and moustache he might have appeared foreboding but with that ever present twinkle in his eyes he seemed so kind and reassuring that my previous(failed) attempt at being “boarded” never sprung to mind. When he offered me a place I felt I could belong there. That never changed.

What do I remember him for at Rannoch? .
In a nutshell I suppose it would mainly be for his enthusiasm, a trait that took him far beyond and above what would be considered appropriate for a traditional headmaster in it’s manifestation. Whether clearing stones from the playing fields, pursuing amorously engaged dogs with a bucket of hot water, laying down beneath a rudimentary ski jump, joining in rugby training by suggesting novel moves or rushing back from building a dry stone dyke at the end of the hockey pitch to meet the parents of a prospective pupil whilst wiping his hands on whatever item of his black attire, he was ours and he was Rannoch School(s).

Thus “The Bat”, a label that he so erroneously thought of as defamatory. It never was, if anything it was a term of endearment, of affection, and it is scandalous that he was not permitted to see out his mission for as long as he saw fit.
I, at least, will never see his like again.

 

Neil Duncan
Dougal was one of 'nature's gentlemen' - and although the news of his death was anticipated, those who benefited from his leadership, wise council and immense personality will not only be saddened, but left to ponder on how lucky we were to be numbered amongst 'his boys' and the start he gave us in life whilst at Rannoch.  (I do not believe that he ever was given enough credit for all his monumental efforts, but "the good in man becomes interred in their bones"). We will remember him, and his legacy will not be forgotten or passed over.  In turn, he could remember us all, many years on, who had been his pupils - a startling confession he gave me a few years back when I was involved in trying to keep Rannoch going as a school (an attempt that sadly failed).
 
Being a Wade House boy of the early '60s, I did not have the benefit of Dougal as Housemaster as well as Headmaster - indeed, I perhaps made an effort to dodge him whenever I could, probably because of a guilty conscience about something or other: His perception was as sharp as a razor. So my treasury of Dougal stories is not so extensive as that of some of the old Rannocharians you may be hearing from.  Nevertheless, here are a few distilled scraps that may have matured with the telling down the years..........   
 

  • There was the occasion when Dougal had to cane a pupil for some unrecorded misdemeanour, when he was interrupted by the arrival of parents with prospective pupil in tow at his study door.  Dougal hastily dismissed the miscreant and stuffed the cane down his trousers to conceal the beastly weapon.  He then had to escort the party to his proper 'reception room' that was two flights of stairs up.  History does not relate (as far as I know) how he explained his extraordinary limp and inability to sit down with his guests, but he would have passed it of with aplomb! 

  • Everybody seems to have a story about their interview prior to acceptance.  Mine passed without incident, but I did have the clear impression (even at the age of 13) that my mother fell in love with him! 

  •  Dogs seem to feature in peoples' memories.  Dougal's dog Bindi became tied to a curr of lesser pedigree and morals in a prominant location in front of the main entrance to Dall.  A human chain of eager lads passing buckets of cold water (as cold as only Rannoch water could be) was quickly organised under Dougal's supervision, with Joe Dalgarno, the ginger-haired groundsman acting the drill sergeant barking orders - Dougal having appointed him with the wonderfully understated  instruction to "use his experience".  Wade, Wentworth and Dall were shouting encouragement from the rooftops, and the day was generally declared a memorable and joyfull success.  I never did learn if there were "issue". 

  • Dougal taught me a little French (and a great deal more important things besides).  My abiding memory was in the French 'O' level dicte` which he took.  He managed to mime the entire episode with great effect, so even if we could not spell the French words, we were left in absolutely no doubt what the narrative was all about.  I wonder what the external examiners thought.


There is a great deal that I could say about Dougal - the respect and affection I have always held for him, even though I was never more than just another one of his 'boys' with no special talents or reason to be remembered, and that  Rannoch developed a very special ethos in its formative years peculiar to Rannoch alone, and Dougal was the inspiration.  I think a number of his staff were jealous of his charisma (though they would never have admitted that) and so were some of the Governors of the time.  Some of my best and freshest memories of growing up were of Rannoch days - and ultimately all down to Dougal.

James McNie

Dougal was both my housemaster and headmaster at Rannoch from my arrival at Dall House in September 1960 until my departure in June 1965. I went on to a long career spent almost entirely abroad  and it was really only in my later years, that I regained contact with him. 

The first phone call when I told him it was McNie,  from Rannoch School - by way of memory jog,  some twenty-five years after leaving Rannoch - he answered straight away, "James Turner McGregor McNie!" I realized immediately his memory was totally undiminished, as he also enquired of my parents. 

Whenever I was in Edinburgh I much enjoyed visiting him, to allow him to reminisce about what was clearly the love of his life - Rannoch School.  Intermittently we would write each other, and I was particularly touched when he sent me the original manuscripts for some poems he had written and contributed to an Edinburgh paper, under an "alias". A side of him I hadn't appreciated whilst at Rannoch was that he was a prolific poet. I am not sure many other boys realized this at the time.

The most abiding memory I have from schooldays was owning up with another culprit to "borrowing" a young and impoverished master's motorbike  on several occasions, for moonlit trips round the Forestry Commission tracks, late at night. Dougal placed particular emphasis on the master's relative poverty and asked if I did not feel it on my conscience to have been using this vicar's son's hard-earned petrol. I am not sure how he didn't burst out laughing when I pointed out in all seriousness that we had realized this would not have been acceptable, so had regularly siphoned petrol out of Dougal's car to fuel our expeditions. Another memorable caning followed. In one of our last conversations in Edinburgh he was much exercised about what boys thought of his caning them. I think I put his mind entirely at rest, by pointing out that I was confident that on every occasion I was caned, it was very richly deserved, and as quickly forgotten about.

I feel privileged to have had my formative years under his tutelage, and attribute much of my later success in life to my years at Rannoch,  with Dougal and his co-founders providing us with such an inspiring framework in which to develop.

He will live long, and fondly, in my memory.

Neil Sinclair
Dougal Greig was a truly admirable man. The number of former pupils, not only from Rannoch, but from Altyre, who kept in touch with Dougal, or who have written with affection about him in the 40th anniversary Rannoch Anthology and, more recently, on this website make clear what a high regard he was held in.  They show how his positive influence on people’s life is still remembered half a century on. 

At Rannoch Dougal’s interests were entirely in his pupils and in the school.  He cared little for material things (as anyone who visited his house can testify!). There was no headmaster’s flat at Rannoch .   Dougal’s bedroom was in the top turret of Dall.  He later recounted that if there had been a fire the only escape would have been through the window by a rope tied to the taps of the wash-hand basin.  Dougal decided to test out this escape with a sackfull of sand tied to the taps.  All that happened was that the taps were pulled out of the basin and sack, rope and taps deposited on the ground! 

Dougal also was not much concerned about his clothes.  He usually appeared in a dark suit which he wore even when taking part in building activities or rugby demonstrations.  The boys presumed he must have two dark suits as one would have needed frequent cleaning, but were most surprised when he appeared dressed in a light-coloured suit one summer. 

One regret that others felt about Dougal’s life was that he did not continue his career as a headmaster for a longer period.  Yet he did not complain about this, but instead found satisfaction from hearing about the careers of his former pupils about whose Rannoch days he had a remarkable memory.  His main sadness in later life was first when Rannoch close and then when some of the School’s old boys predeceased him.

 

Ken Burchell Wade 1960 - 64
I remember well the first time I ever met Mr Greig, April 1960. Yes, I got
the written test and had to tackle the red winged chair. My father and
Dougal, over a cup of tea as I completed the tests, spoke about the dry
rot behind the wooden panelling in the Masters corridor.

Without his guidance over the years, I don’t think that I and many, many
others who went to Rannoch, would have turned out with as much confidence
and ability to tackle life’s daily grind. I remember the conversion of the
old stables into the new chapel, skills gained that have helped me through
life and the confidence to do my own projects. As well, the courage to leave
Britain at an early age and emigrate to Australia for 10, 42 years ago.

As I write this, Dougal presides with John, Paddy and the school community
in the official photographs of 1959/60, 1960/61 1961/62 hanging on the wall
to my left.
A great man who has gone to his maker. Rest in Peace, Dougal Thank you.

 

Alan Beaton  Wade
How can those of us from the early years forget Dougal's influence on the school and on us? I remember vividly a sixth form French tutorial in his room. We were one coffee cup short and he insisted that it was he who would do without. He poured coffee into a saucer and began to sup inelegantly from it. I was unable to conceal my paroxysms of laughter. He did not admonish me as he continued to drink straight-facedly from the saucer but his eyes twinkled in a way that plainly said he did not blame me for laughing so rudely at the headmaster.
Behind the sometimes stern exterior, there lurked an impish sense of humour, a great spirit of adventure and tremendous enthusiasm for anything and everything to do with the school's activities. Perhaps less well known was his generosity towards people whom he felt required his help. In dealing with boys he did not slavishly “go by the book” but respected their individual needs as well as their own strengths and weaknesses of character. He knew how to bring out the best in them, even if they did not always appreciate it. Dougal was an understanding and compassionate man, a charismatic and inspirational teacher. We are indeed the poorer for his passing but spiritually the richer in having come under his influence.



Return to main menu