Obituary: Donald Buchanan Robertson QC, 80

Donald Buchanan Robertson had his own dress code for tennis
Donald Buchanan Robertson had his own dress code for tennis
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An advocate who wore his kilt with pride at home and abroad has died aged 80.

Donald Buchanan Robertson QC passed away in Edinburgh last week.

Born in Sandbank, Argyll, in 1932, he came to Edinburgh in 1960 to be admitted as a member of the Faculty of Advocates.

One thing he held on to was his west coast accent, despite the common practice of new members losing it somewhere between Queen Street Station in Glasgow and Waverley.

Friends described Donald as a generous host who would often entertain friends at Cranshaws Castle in Berwickshire.

His affection for the castle was so strong that he sold his coin collection to finance the restoration of its interior and it was a great sadness for him and his wife Daphne when they left after 40 years.

Donald was particularly proud of his middle name and had portraits of Buchanans on the walls of both the castle and his Capital home in Grosvenor Crescent. He was an ardent admirer of George Buchanan, the 16th-century Latin scholar who was imprisoned for heresey in Portugal and released only after it caused an outcry in Europe.

The history of Scots in Europe was a subject that fascinated Donald. He often travelled to France to search out the names, graves and stories of Scots who took part in battles between the English and the French.

On one recent holiday there, Donald guided friends to Aubigny-sur-Nere, just south of Orleans, a town he knew well as it boasted several hundred years of close association with Scotland. Donald insisted the party stayed in a chateau built by John Stewart of Darnley, Earl of Buchan.

It was on that trip that Donald let friends in on a little secret – his talent for tennis. After acting as umpire while friends played, he revealed he had reached the semi-final of the Junior Boys Championship for the West of Scotland.

Despite that being 65 years earlier, he took to the court, an unusual sight – clad in kilt, sporran and deerstalker. That was an outfit Donald often wore, whether on the tennis courts or the streets of the Capital. He even donned it in court once, apparently to the displeasure of Lord Cameron, before whom he was appearing.

His fascination with Scottish history led him to volunteer as a tour guide at the Museum of Scotland, in Chambers Street. Friends said he had a gift for conveying his enthusiasm.

Friend Lord John McCluskey paid tribute, saying: “He realised and expressed his personality fully in his work, his leisure, his dress, his friendships and his conversation. He remained the man he was. He was uniquely Donald Buchanan Robertson. We treasure our memories of him.”

He died on April 9 and is survived by Daphne, children Dirk and Deirdre and his wider family.