At the beginning of June I was lucky enough, thanks to the Sir Cecil McKee Bursary, to spend some time at our Reciprocal Clubs in Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
My husband Philip and I arrived in Edinburgh on Saturday 6th June and spent two nights at the New Club. Situated right in the heart of Princes Street this very traditional Club is confidently thriving and remains an integral part of Edinburgh society. It boasts magnificent views to the Castle and is very easily accessible by tram from the airport. Arriving by car is slightly more convoluted (see Alex for details!).
On Monday morning we visited the Royal Scots Club in Abercromby Place where we were given an extremely warm welcome and tour. The Royal Scots Club is less formal than the New Club and is run slightly differently to most of our reciprocal Clubs in that non-members can use the accommodation and facilities. Do not be put off by this, the Club has a proud history and distinct character having been founded as a memorial to those Royal Scots who fell in the Great War.
Later on Monday we boarded the train at Waverly and travelled over the Forth Rail Bridge up the east coast to the ‘granite city’. The reception we received at the Royal Northern and University Club in Albyn Place completely blew us away. We were treated to a dinner of fine Scottish fayre by the Club’s Chairman, Vice Chairman, their wives and their dedicated and enthusiastic Club Secretary, Sharon. We dined in the Reynolds Room overlooked by two of Sir Joshua’s fine works. I then spent Tuesday with Sharon finding out how she and her team are planning to sustain the future of their Club.
This trip gave me a unique opportunity to share, with colleagues, some of the challenges facing our Clubs, as we endeavour to embrace the twenty-first century whilst upholding our precious traditions. Like ourselves, all of these Clubs have a distinguished place in the history of their cities and also, like us, they have Members and staff who are committed to their future success. It was a privilege to be given this opportunity and would record my sincere thanks to our Management Committee for approving the Remuneration Committee’s recommendation to put me forward as a beneficiary of the Bursary. I have returned not only with a broader “Club Education” but also with the reassurance that Club life is alive and well and that nowhere has a Dining Room as splendid as ours!