Davie loved the land

David Dryburgh, born and bred in Falkland, remembers with affection, his father, Davie, who died in 2006 aged 96.  At the time of his retirement at the age of 93, Davie had worked consistently at the historic Falkland Palace Estate (which was once a hunting lodge for Scotland’s kings) from 1928 until 2003.  He loved his job, working first as a forester, as his father, grandfather and great grandfather had done before him, and later, after the Second World War, as a groundsman on the estate.  Throughout his working life he took the greatest of pleasure in the dignity of hard labour and in a job well done.  On his retirement, he had become the last full time employee on the estate.

 Davie was one of twelve children and the family lived at the Pillars of Hercules in a small cottage with a caravan in the garden to extend the accommodation.  Davie married Janet from Strathmiglo and they lived at the Stables on the Estate for the rest of their lives.  Davie and Janet had one son named David, after his father.  It is David Dryburgh Junior who has provided the information and pictures for this record.


Davie loved the land and gave his working life to it.  When war broke out, in 1939, he was not allowed to join up (being in a reserved occupation) but volunteered for the Air Observation Corps.  He would do his day’s work, physically demanding as it was, and then he would go down to the myre (where the Golf Club is today) to carry out his night shift duties: determined to ensure that the defences of Clydebank would receive early warning of German bombers heading towards them.  

After the war, however, when two German ex-soldiers were employed on the Estate, Davie worked alongside them, all enmities forgotten.  (Incidentally, one of those two ex-soldiers married and settled down with a local girl and stayed in Cupar.)  

Davie’s devotion to his job and his love of the land did not go unnoticed by his employers.  When the Estate was being opened up to the general public, Davie was asked to be the guest of honour at the official opening ceremony in which he declared a new stone-built bridge “open” to take visitors along the Red Squirrel Walk; a well-deserved honour, indeed.


As a boy, David Junior helped his dad on the Estate and the fun of sitting between Davie’s knees and “driving” the tractor stays in his memory to this day.  David remembers his dad getting up early every Monday to heat up the boiler outside for the weekly wash.  With a smile, he recalls his dad sticking back his hair with grease so that he would look smart for school.



as told to Liz Coates