Scottish aristocrat's death after fall from cliff 'not suspicious'

The heir to the Earldom of Sutherland was found on rocks near Thurso Castle on September 3.

Death of Scottish aristocrat Lord Strathnaver after fall to rocks near Thurso Castle ‘not suspicious’ Google Maps

The death of a Scottish aristocrat after he fell from a 30ft cliff near Thurso Castle is not being treated as suspicious, police have confirmed.

Lord Strathnaver, Alexander Sutherland, was found at the bottom of 30ft cliffs at Thurso East, near the ruined 19th century castle in Caithness.

Thurso Lifeboat was launched at 11.30pm on September 3 to reports of a person on the rocks.

It quickly made its way to the area and trained crew members gave CPR and assisted the Scottish Ambulance Service and local Coastguard with the situation until Police Scotland took control.

The 40-year-old Scottish aristocrat was the son of the Earl of Sutherland of Clan Sutherland, whose family seat is at Dunrobin Castle.

Police have now confirmed that his death is not being treated as suspicious, after previously being labelled unexplained.

A spokesperson for the force said: “We were made aware of concern for a 40-year-old man near to Thurso Castle shortly after 11.20pm on Saturday, September 3.

“Emergency services attended but the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Following enquiries, the death is not being treated as suspicious and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”

In a social media post, Mark Sutherland-Fisher, president of the Clan Sutherland Society in Scotland, informed society members of Alexander’s death “with a very heavy heart”.

He said: “Alexander was not only the heir to the Earldom of Sutherland but a widely popular figure in and around Golspie where most people just knew him as ‘Al’.

“I would ask everyone to respect the family’s privacy at this very sad time.”

In another post, Golspie Community Council said “the whole community was shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic loss”.

“On behalf of the community, Golspie Community Council extends our deepest condolences to Alexander’s family, his many friends and all who loved him,” it said.

A friend said that Alexander had been attending the Tunes in the Dunes music festival at Dunnet that weekend.

“He was walking with a friend and she was ahead of him. The next she knew he had gone over the cliffs. It was a tragic accident,” the friend, who asked not to be named, told the Scottish Daily Express.

“She climbed down to him and gave him CPR. Neither had a mobile phone. She had to climb back up and find a phone and call for help.

“Sadly Al could not be saved. He was such a lovely chap – a really happy-go-lucky person. He had no airs. I did not know him as Lord Strathnaver – just as Al.

“He was a keen surfer – he used to surf every day and that is why he had a house at Thurso East. He also had a little surf shop. It appears he had been at the music festival, had left it and may have been heading back.

“It is such a tragic loss.”

His grandmother, Elizabeth Millicent Sutherland, 24th Countess of Sutherland, died in 2019 at the age of 98.

The countess’s death meant her eldest son Alistair became the Earl of Sutherland and his son Alexander, took on the title of Lord Strathnaver.

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