The first Nigel Tranter Memorial Award was presented to Robert Clow at the AGM in Inverness in April 2001. It took the form of a reproduction Burgonet, a light 16th century helmet, mounted on a suitably engraved stand.
Robert was felt to be a worthy recipient as on a voluntary basis he edited and in 2000 produced the book "Restoring Scotland's Castles". It is informative, interesting and encouraging, while pointing out the many trials and tribulations of castle restoration. The book was based on presentations made at a conference organised by the Strathclyde group of the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland and describes the restoration and rebuilding of eleven 14th to 16th century tower houses by those most closely associated with the projects.
Robert Clow at Aiket Castle
Much first hand knowledge was gained by Robert when he and his wife Katrina bought the ruined Aiket castle in 1976. At that time it consisted of two vaults and three walls. those of you who have visited Aiket will agree it has been restored and rebuilt in a most appropriate and sympathetic manner.
Aiket demonstrates what can be a positive gain to Scotland as opposed to letting ruined shells collapse into a "rickle o` stanes". The gardens that have been created and continue to be developed by Katrina from what was rough grazing to the magnificent shrubberies, beds and ponds with some 7000 trees planted.
This makes today's Aiket once again "a pretty duelling" as Timothy Pont described in 1604-8