Alasdair sadly died in August 2017. His profile here will be maintained to acknowledge his contributions to the Centre and wider historical community in Scotland and far beyond. Alasdair was one of the founding directors and driving forces of the Centre and its philosophy of collaboration, public, community and policy relevance and research excellence and he will be greatly missed by everyone involved in its work now and in the future.
Alasdair was largely brought up in Kincardineshire and was a double graduate of the University of Aberdeen (History and Celtic). In 2003 he crossed the Mounth to work as a research assistant in Environmental History at the University of Stirling and became a permanent member of staff there in 2007 until his untimely death in 2017. Alasdair was a natural collaborator and leader in the foundation of the Centre, given his wide-ranging research interests in land, which crossed geographies and chronologies with an ease other historians could only envy. He worked on a broad range of land issues, including historic units of land assessment in northern Europe and the issues of resource utilisation and sustainability. This included medieval parish boundaries and the Centre currently hosts the website of the Mapping the Medieval Parishes of Scotland group. Alasdair also had interests in and published widely on perambulations, medieval cartularies, deer parks and hunting forests, water meadows (both natural and artificial), the vernacular building tradition (in turf and wood), and ecological imperialism (the last involving the sometimes spectacularly amusing attempts to breed native Highland cattle with different animals from the Americas). Until his death, Alasdair was working with Professor Richard Hoffmann (York University, Canada) on a joint paper investigating medieval riverine fisheries in Scotland and the laws governing them. His wide chronological interests are further evidenced by the last volume he was working on, Survey of the Lordship of Urquhart, 1808 for the Scottish History Society.
Alasdair’s good humour, insightful intellectual contributions and collegiate approach will be much missed by us all at the Centre, and our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues.