Alison Gourdie (memorial at Felagie cottage, Braemar)

Felagie Cottage is a small cottage, just outside Braemar in Scotland, used by the 1st Cults Girl Guides as a base for camping.

Felagie Cottage 

Near the cottage is a group of trees (rowans, apparently) with a stone memorial:

Alison Gourdie memorial 

The inscription says:

These trees
were planted in memory of
Alison Gourdie
who loved this place
and the outdoor life

 

The subtle marker with the Guide badge intrigued me, so I did a bit of research on Alison and discovered a remarkable woman, whose life was dramatically cut short.

Alison Gourdie 

Alison Lois Gourdie was born in Aberdeen on January 24, 1958, to James and Lois Gourdie.

Her father was the chairman of the Scottish Caravan Club North Centre and the family even toured North Carolina as representatives of the club in 1975. The love of the outdoors seems to have been a family trait.

In 1974, Alison was a Patrol Leader in the 1st Cults Girl Guides and received her Queen’s Badge – the highest achievement in guiding, requiring community service, outdoor challenges and the development of personal skills.

Alison Gourdie, Queen's Award 

In 1976, Alison left Albyn School for Girls, receiving her Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award – another great accomplishment. She even attended a ceremony at Holyrood Place to receive her certificate.

In 1981, Alison graduated from Aberdeen University with a medical degree and began work at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. Throughout the 1980s, she developed her career in both Scotland and England, working in Monklands District General Hospital, Perth Royal Infirmary, North Manchester General Hospital, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, and Pinderfields General Hospital, as well as becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons.

During Dr Gourdie’s time working as casualty department registrar at St James's University Hospital in Leeds, she was regularly featured in the popular documentary series ‘Jimmy’s’.

Alison Gourdie on Jimmy's documentary

In 1992, Alison had just been appointed to her first Consultant position in the casualty department at Stirling Royal Infirmary and decided to celebrate with a trekking holiday in the Himalayas – fulfilling a lifetime ambition.

Tragically, her plane crashed in Nepal and Alison died, aged 34.

Alison Gourdie, plane crash front page

Alison Gourdie, plane crash

Alison’s grave is in Springbank Cemetery in Aberdeen.

Alison Gourdie's grave

Gravestone photo from https://billiongraves.com/grave/Alison-L-Gourdie/22320543

Pakistan International Airlines maintains a Memorial Park at Lele, around 10km away from the crash site.

PIA Lele Memorial Park

Park photo from https://www.dawn.com/news/1213722

The memorial is a circular monument with the names of the deceased displayed in nationality groups.

Alison Gourdie memorial in Lele 

Screenshot from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtIm2RSUimE

There's a beautiful article about a friend of one of the passengers visiting the park - http://ecs.com.np/features/a-pilgrimage-for-a-friend

In memory of Dr Gourdie, the annual Alison Gourdie Medal is given to the candidate with the best overall performance in the Fellowship Examination of the College of Emergency Medicine.

Alison Gourdie Medal 

A remarkable woman, memorialized in two beautiful parts of the world.

Alison Gourdie obituary 

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