On 13th August Scotland's oldest lady, Janet Roberts, celebrated her 110th birthday in the company of family and friends.
Born during the last year of the reign of Queen Victoria, Janet - or 'The Wee Ja' as she is known to her nearest and dearest - is the last surviving grand-daughter of William Grant, the founder of Glenfiddich Distillery. William showed true pioneering spirit in creating his own distillery against all the financial odds, and that sense of determination and endeavour has unquestionably been passed down through the generations.
Janet is the matriarch of the Grant family which still owns and runs William Grant & Sons Ltd, one of the last remaining independent distillers in Scotland and best known as the producers of Glenfiddich, the world's leading single malt whisky. She was born in the wild, bleak uplands of 'The Cabrach,' renowned in the past as a centre for illicit distilling and situated mid-way between Inverness and Aberdeen.
Gordon and Grant ancestry figures in Janet's lineage, with the Gordon family being able to trace its origins in The Cabrach back to 1509. On her mother's side, she is descended from Alexander Grant, who was known as 'Auld Cearnach,' and fought at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, living to the age of 103. The Grants originate from Muchrach Castle near Dulnain Bridge, some 30 miles south-west of Dufftown.
Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities both featured in Janet's education, and she studied law at the latter, where she met her future husband, fellow lawyer Eric Roberts. Eric went on to become Chairman of William Grant & Sons Ltd, and today Janet's nephew Charles, remains active as Life President at the age of 83, while her great-nephew Peter Grant Gordon is the current Chairman, while other family members also play a significant role in running the company.
Janet Roberts still lives within a few miles of Glenfiddich Distillery, situated in the whisky-producing heartland of Speyside, and this remarkable and indomitable lady continues to exemplify the virtues of independence and cherished heritage which are so dear to her whole family.