The Daily Telegraph
Scottish aristocrat, 40, dies after ‘unexplained’ cliff fall
AN aristocrat has died after falling down a cliff face in the Scottish Highlands, in what friends called a “tragic accident” following a music festival.
The body of Alexander Sutherland, Lord Strathnaver, was found at the bottom of 30ft cliffs at Thurso East, near the ruined 19th-century Thurso Castle, in Caithness on Saturday night.
A friend said that the 40-year-old had been attending the nearby Tunes by the Dunes music festival, which showcases traditional and Celtic acts. Lord Strathnaver had a home just east of Thurso.
Police said they were treating his death as “unexplained” and that Lord Strathnaver had been pronounced dead at the scene.
“He was walking with a friend and she was ahead of him,” said an acquaintance, who asked not to be named. “The next she knew he had gone over the cliffs. It was a tragic accident.
“She climbed down to him and gave him CPR. Neither had a mobile phone. She had to climb back up and find a phone and call for help.
“Sadly Al could not be saved. He was such a lovely chap – a really happy-golucky person. He had no airs. I did not know him as Lord Strathnaver – just as Al.” Lord Strathnaver would have been 41 next month. He was unmarried. His grandmother, Elizabeth, 24th Countess of Sutherland, died in 2019 aged 98. The countess’s death meant her eldest son Alistair became the Earl of Sutherland and his son, Alexander, took the title of Lord Strathnaver.
The community near Dunrobin Castle at Golspie in Sutherland have spoken of their “shock” over the “tragic loss”.
The spectacular Dunrobin Castle and its 120-acre estate, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year, has been in the family for seven centuries.
Golspie council said: “The whole community is shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic loss of Alexander Sutherland.
“Golspie community council extends our deepest condolences to Alexander’s family, his many friends and all who loved him.”
It is the second tragedy to hit the family in recent years. Lord Strathnaver’s cousin Jamie Janson – the great-nephew of the shamed war minister John Profumo – took his own life aged 44, 18 months after returning to Britain from fighting in Syria.
Mr Janson, an Eton-educated former aid worker who shunned his privileged upbringing, joined the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit to fight Islamic State in 2017. He took his own life in 2019 after a struggle with mental illness.