The Highland hotelier with a talent for curling, Isobel Ross who was known for her social nature and sporting prowess has died aged 95.
Born on March 22, 1926 in the Strathspey village of Dulnain Bridge, her parents were James and Margaret Calder.
While her father, who had been injured in the war, worked as a gardener, Margaret was the cook in the school canteen.
One of five, she is survived by her sister Ann and brother Iain.
Her other siblings, James, and Margaret, have passed away.
The boy next door
Isobel attended Dulnain Bridge Primary school followed by Grantown Grammar School.
She taught Sunday School classes as a teenager and on leaving school began work in the Royal Bank of Scotland.
But despite new opportunities and friendships Isaoel fell in love with the boy next door.
David Ross, whose family owned the Ben Mhor Hotel in Grantown-on-Spey, to be exact.
Very white wedding
The young couple set a date for their wedding but any hope of capturing the day was dashed when their photographer didn’t make it to the Iverallan Church.
But he had have a good excuse – it was Feb 9, 1950 and one of the worst snow storms in Highland history.
However, In December 1950 they welcomed their honeymoon baby, Donald.
The couple were no strangers to hard work and put their all into the hotel, creating a very successful business.
Isobel was known for her excellent baking and home made sweets.
With her lemon meringue pie and butterscotch flan becoming firm favourites with her guests.
Working in Highland hospitality in the 60s meant an influx of guests coming for the bustling ski slopes.
And Isobel and David made long lasting friendships with many of their guests.
Winnie Ross is married to Isobel’s son Donald.
She said: “Stein from Norway, who was one of the ski instructors, came over every year to visit until Covid made it impossible.
“They had many party nights in the hotel and Isobel was well known for her sociable friendly nature.”
In 1972 the family moved to Pineridge in Carrbridge, followed by another move to the Heather Hotel in Forres.
Isobel was an accomplished sportswoman who played tennis, golf, badminton and curling.
Winnie said: “She was a very good sportswoman – excellent at badminton.
“But she was most proud of her successes in curling.”
Isobel skipped successful rinks locally and played all over Scotland.
And she also played outdoor curling – something she had grown fond of as a youngster.
But the advantage to being an adult hotel owner was that the fun could be accompanied by a dram taken to keep the cold out.
The annual Johnnie Walker Highland Week in Aviemore, then later in Inverness, was a highlight in the curling calendar and Isobel loved to host visitors from home and abroad.
Isobel Ross – champion curler
The peak of her curling career was when she was chosen to play for Scotland in the European Championships in Megeve, France.
Her rink went on to win.
This was no small feat given the team were assembled especially for the competition – and their opposition were world leaders France and Switzerland.
The First 50 – a book detailing the history of the Ladies Branch of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club records the event.
“In October the President advised the Executive that the Sub-Committee had chosen the rink of Bett Law (Abdie ladies), Jessie Whiteford (Raith and Abbotshall), Beth Lindsay (Lanark Ladies) and Isobel Ross (Cairngorm Ladies).
“All four players were first class skips and the Sub-Committee apparently thought that, with their experience and knowledge of the game, they could combine to form a very competent rink.”
Their confidence was confirmed when they won the 1975 European Championship.
Isobel spent the last 14 years of her life in Abbeyvale Nursing Home.
David had also been there briefly before his death.
She enjoyed any dancing and singing which took place.
Her ability to socialise and draw friendships never waned.
Isobel is survived by Donald, Winnie and her grandson Alastair and his partner Connie. She was also great grandmother to Miabella, David and Alexander.
You can read the family’s notice here.