ANN SAVAGE was the American writer and traveller who restored seventeenth-century Harthill Castle from an Aberdeenshire ruin. She died aged 57 after a fall at her home.

A writer and traveller, Ann rooted herself in Aberdeenshire, and delighted in the role of chatelaine of Harthill.

In 1971, Ann Tweedy, then married to Steve Remp the American oilman and founder of Ramco plc, fell in love with north-east Scotland, and the couple made Aberdeenshire their home. Fascinated by the castellated architecture of the area, she accepted the assistance of historian Nigel Tranter in finding a building to restore. He pointed to Harthill, near the village of Oyne.

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The stronghold of the Leiths of Harthill had lain a shell since 1640 when, in the civil war, Sir William Forbes of Craigievar captured it from royalist John Leith of Harthill. The castle was destroyed in a blaze shortly afterwards. Over the next three centuries, only the tower and a few outlying walls survived.

Under Ann's stewardship, the building was meticulously restored, the saltire aloft becoming a familiar landmark. She took care to ensure the grounds were cultivated to appear in their condition of three centuries ago.

Only the gatehouse remained for final rebuilding.

A seasoned traveller whose experiences in 50 countries in all continents covered some of the world's more remote areas, she was elected a fellow of the Explorers' Club in 1990. Four years ago she brought the club to Harthill, hosting a black-tie event for SirWally Herbert, and commissioning a painting for the occasion showing Sir Wally's party arriving at the North Pole.

The picture hangs in the castle.

Born in Shanghai, her father, Gordon, was an international lawyer, while mother Mary was an editor with Time magazine. She was raised in Bermuda and New York, graduating from Wellesley College, Massachusetts with honours, and completing a master's degree with further postgraduate study in Paris and Washington. She wrote for international newspapers and magazines on art, travel, conservation and history.

An avid skier and scuba diver, she was co-author of Gold Dive, an account of scuba diving.

She loved her community, selflessly ploughing time and resources into bettering lands around Oyne. When the Bailies of Bennachie, the local volunteer organisation dedicated to the care of the hill elected her an honorary baillie, she said the appointment meant more than any other honour.

When Angela Hilton, a local woman who worked as her secretary, suffered a brain haemorrhage, Ann assisted in her recovery by aiding her in keeping a diary. The journal was published earlier this year, to encourage others whose lives have been changed by accident or illness.

Ann is survived by her second husband, Michael Savage; sisters Clare McMorris and Margot Egan; and step-daughter Mariana Savage. She was buried in the grounds of the castle.

Ann Sellet Savage, writer, traveller and castle restorer;

born April 13, 1947, died January 20, 2005.