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Chapter II - Civil History

The history of the parish is enveloped in darkness down to the 18th century. The knowledge we have of the past is fragmentary and cannot be woven into a continuous story.

After his defeat at the battle of Largs, Haco, the King of Norway, is known to have landed at Oldshore in course of his retreat homewards. Evidently he did not get much to help him, for, after rounding Cape Wrath, he put in at Loch Eriboll. There he sent a foraging party ashore, who were severely beaten by the natives. This they well deserved, for on his way south the proud viking pillaged and burned twenty villages in that region. King Alexander III. settled any rights Haco had in this quarter by a money payment.

In the reign of Queen Mary, Donald MacKay of Far forfeited her Majesty's favour, owing to some political offence, and was deprived of his lands.

In 1551 she sent a letter to the bishop of Caithness, presenting to him Robert, Bishop-elect of Orkney, as his tenant in the lands of Oldshoremore, Oldshorebeg, Sandwood, Ceathramh Garbh, Ceathramh hleadhonach, The Island of Hoa, the water of Abhainn Garbh, with the salmon fishings, the water of Sandwood, with the salmon fishings, half the water of Laxford with the salmon fishings; and with the tiends of these towns.

In 1559 the same Bishop of Caithness, "for certain sums of money and other favours," granted to John, Earl of Sutherland and his wife, Helen Stewart, Countess of Errol, and their heirs, the same lands, tiends, and fishing rights.

Again in 1564 the Earl of Sutherland forfeited the estate, and Queen Mary, "considering that Alexander Gordon, the Earls' son, was an infant, and had not partaken in his father's crime," granted the estate to him, by a letter, dated 6th March, 1564, reserving the life-rent to his mother, the Countess of Errol and Sutherland.

The Earl's crime to which the letter referred was a political one. Mary came home to Scotland a young widow in 1562. The Earl of Huntly and his friends thought that his son, Sir John Gordon, would be a suitable and worthy match for her. Mary, however, scorned such a proposal. The Gordons were highly offended. Mary set out from Edinburgh on a tour of the northern counties to make acquaintance with those parts of her kingdom. At Aberdeen, Huntly warmly invited her to visit his castle at Strathbogie in passing. This she declined to do. When she reached Inverness, expecting to lodge in the castle, she found it locked in her face by the Governor, in the name of Lord Gordon. Mary summoned the Highland Clans, the Macintoshes, the Grants and the Frasers, to her standard. They joined the royal escort, took the castle, and hanged the Governor. On her return journey to Aberdeen, the clansmen, including the MacKays, escorted her all the way, as they feared an attack from Huntly, who was declared an outlaw. The loyal clansmen were ordered to punish him, and Huntly gave them battle at Corrichie, twenty miles west of Aberdeen. "Huntly's force amounted to but a third of that of his enemies, but he had been led to believe that he had friends in their ranks, and the result of the first onset gave countenance to his belief. The vanguard of the royal army was broken, and the day was saved only by the determined attack of the detachment led by Moray. After a fierce struggle Huntly's men were forced down the hill into a morass which lay at its base; many were wounded; 120 were slain ; and among those taken were Huntly's two sons, Adam and John. From the traitor's death that awaited him, Huntly was strangely delivered; on the way to Aberdeen he fell dead from his horse, stricken by some natural disease. A few days later, Sir John Gordon, the chief cause of the trouble, was executed in Aberdeen, his brother Adam being spared on account of his youth. Huntly was beyond the reach of punishment, but his body was subjected to the ghastly formalities of the feudal law. Seven months after his death (May 28, 1563), the coffin containing his embalmed body was placed upright "as if the Earle stoode upon his feet," at the bar of the Scottish Parliament, when sentence of treason was pronounced upon him, and his posterity declared incapable of office or dignity within the realm.

The Earl of Sutherland, who had supported Huntly in this mad enterprise, fled the country, and was condemned to death by Parliament, but four years later he was allowed to return to Scotland.

In 1570, George, Earl of Huntly, baron of the barony of Far, sold to Aoidh MacKay at Aberdeen, for certain sums of money, some lands in the barony of Strathnaver, including Kinlochbervie, Na h-Ardan, Oldshoremore, Oldshorebeg, and the fishing rights of the rivers within the area.

Notwithstanding this, in 16oi, King James VI. made a new grant of these lands to Earl John.

The parish, one of the most remote and least considerable in Scotland, provides us with a good illustration of how the rulers of the past tried to govern the country by the aid of the clan chiefs.

In the sixteenth century the parish of Eddrachillis was inhabited by two clans, the Macleods of Assynt in the Scourie end, and Morrisons, from Syke, in the Kinlochbervie end. Behind the historic account of how it came into the hands of the MacKays there is an intriguing romance that merits preservation.

Huistean MacThormaid, the progenitor of the Morrisons, was a Skyeman, who traded between Stornoway and Thurso. At Thurso he had some business dealings with the Bishop of Caithness with whose sister he fell in love and married. With her as her dowry he received the church lands of Durness and Oldshore, a large estate. Here he settled a number of his clansmen from Skye, who occupied it for generations. The last chieftain of the Morrisons married a daughter of Donald Ban Matheson of Shinness, but he died without an heir. The clansmen made the widow's life so unhappy that she fled to her father's home, taking care to carry with her the charter by which the Morrisons held the land from the Bishop of Caithness. In her distress she appealed to the Earl of Sutherland, who relieved her of her destitution—and also of the charter. Thus he came into possession of the property. He did not find it a valuable asset, for the Morrisons, backed by the Macleods and the MacKays, refused to acknowledge his title and to pay rents which he demanded. So obstinate did they prove that the Earl was glad to get rid of it. For sixty merks a year he agreed to give the land to Hugh MacKay, Huistean Dubh na Tuagh (Black Hugh of the battle axe), father of the first Lord Reay.

Huistean Dubh went on a hunting expedition to Foinn Bheinn. There he had a hunting hut in the vicinity of Loch an Tigh Sheilg. Loch na Tuagh is in its neighbourhood. It was the hospitable custom of the time that when the Baron of Far came to hunt, the local people acknowledged his presence, and presented such gifts as butter, cheese and bread. One day a handsome young lady presented herself with gifts of that kind for the chief and his party. Hugh fell in love with her and pled with her to stay with him in his hunting camp. The lady proved as high-minded as she was handsome and repelled his advances, declaring that she was the wife of another—the Morrison chief—and that she would not dishonour her husband or herself by such consent. Hugh, on learning who she was, professed to be profoundly impressed, and sent some of his retinue to fetch Morrison. Presently they returned carrying the chief's head, which they laid at his wife's feet, saying:-

We found him in his bed;
We left him in his bed ;
We did not think of rousing him,
We merely brought his head.
So here we brought his head
To show that he is dead:
The lady need not mourn for him,
For now she's free to wed.

Filled with fear lest a similar fate might befall herself, she remained in the camp. A son was born in due course, who was seen to bear a prominent birthmark on his forehead—the mark of Morrison's blood ! He was called Donald, and was known ever afterwards as Domhnull Ballach, or Spotted Donald.

The MacLeods of Assynt and of Eddrachillis were constantly harrying the Morrisons, who eventually called upon MacKay to come to their help. They agreed that if the MacLeods were beaten Eddrachillis would be divided between them.

Donald MacMhurchaidh mhic Iain Mhoir, the notorious freebooter, the Rob Roy of the Highlands, though a MacLeod, was called in to aid the Morrisons. If he slew MacLeod, the young chief of Eddrachillis, he would get Scourie to himself. MacKay kept in the background.

The day of battle was fixed. When it came and the two opposing forces were facing each other, Black Hugh appeared with ioo men to help the Morrisons. The MacLeods saw that a contest was hopeless, and capitulated. MacKay had all the parties in the hollow of his hand. He gave Eddrachillis to his son, Donald Ballach: he induced Donald Mac Mhurchaidh mhic Iain Mhoir to accept as his portion the Davoch of Hope, together with the hand of Morrison's widow, Donald Ballach's mother.

The facts, of course, were that Hugh MacKay, Huistean Dublh na Tuagh, honourably married his cousin, Helen, daughter of Hugh MacLeod of Assynt, that Donald Ballach was their son and heir, that he inherited Scourie through his mother, and became the founder of the famous family of the MacKays of Scourie.

That part of the Reay estate known as modern Strath-naver was sold by the first Lord Reay to the Earl of Sutherland in 1642. He was obliged to sell it in order to pay debts incurred in the course of the Thirty Years War, in which he and his followers took an honourable part.

The remaining part of the estate was sold by Eric, the seventh Lord Reay, to the Marquis of Stafford, who became the first Duke of Sutherland. The late Evander Maciver's account of the transaction is as follows:—"Mr. Loch told me that Lord Reay had offered his estate to the Marquis of Stafford, who at once, in decided terms, refused to purchase it, much to the disappointment of Mr. Loch. The Marquis had generously offered to lend money to Lord Reay, if that would suit his views, and prevent the sale of an old paternal estate. Lord Reay's reply was that he had resolved to sell it for family reasons. These reasons were: he was a bachelor, had an illegitimate daughter whom he had educated as a lady; that he could not leave her the estate, but could give her the money. It is odd that in 1834 I had dined with Lord Reay in London, when this young female had sat at the head of the table as mistress of the house. She afterwards married Sir Frederick Minto, and it is said it did not prove a happy marriage. I afterwards heard that on her marriage she got 10,000 from her father, with the promise of succeeding to to what he would possess at his death ; that Lord Reay had lent his money on \Vest Indian property and lost it, and that he actually died a bankrupt. His property embraced three Highland parishes, viz., Tongue, Durness, and Eddrachillis, with an area of about 400,000 acres, a wild, hilly, rocky district, with rivers and valleys, and some good hill pasture. The family residence was at Tongue, to which a parliamentary road had been constructed from Lairg, and there was a coach road from Tongue to Thurso. Durness and Eddrachillis were absolutely roadless and otherwise unimproved, and in a state of nature. The result of the negotiations was that the Sutherland family purchased the estate for a sum of 300,000, which was much more than its value at the time."

There is another version of the transaction, but let it be. The price paid for the estate, including fishing rights, house property, etc., was 15s. per acre.

Feudal Conditions.

The feudal system, which so long prevailed in the Highlands, is not well understood to-day. The case of Kinlochbervie will help us to understand it so far as land tenure is concerned.

In the year 1678 the tacksmen of Kinlochbervie were, Uilleam Ruadh MacEoghainn Mliic Anaoghais who paid 20 marks; Donald Og 20 marks; John MacThomais :lihic Dhomhnuill Riabhaich, 12 marks; and John MacNeill Og, 12 marks. In Oldshoremore, Hugh MacKay paid 20 marks; Hugh Mac Dhomhnuill Mhic Allin, 20 marks; and Effie Munro, a near relative of Sir Hector Munro of Foulis, 20 marks.

A century later, in 1789, Donald Forbes of Ribigill, was tacksman for the whole district at an annual rental of 56 16s. 4d.

The tacksmen were responsible to the superior for the rent, and were free to impose on their sub-tenants any rent they pleased. The appointment of factors, who acted directly as the servants and representatives of the superior, was a step in the right direction. The hated factor of later times was much to be preferred to the old rackrenting tacksman, for tenants had the privilege of personal access to the proprietor with their proposals or grievances.

The people's wealth lay in their stock. That was strictly limited in feudal days and in our own time. About a hundred years ago, each tenant was allowed "three small Highland cows, eight sheep, and one horse." The rent of holdings ranged from 2 to 5. The price of cattle averaged 3 a head; sheep 21s.; goats 7s.; and horses 9. Daily unskilled labour could not command 1s. a day. Tradesmen, such as masons, carpenters, and tailors averaged 2s. 6d. per day; domestic servants 3 10s. annually; and farm hands 7.

A Settlement for the Evicted.

These were the economic conditions when the clearances took place. That was in 1819 and 1820. The tenants of Strathnaver, Achumore, Strathmore and Strathbeg fled, they knew not whither, when their homesteads were set on fire, under sheriff's warrant of eviction. Those who did not go abroad or into the large towns were permitted to squat on the inhospitable shores of An Ceathramh Garbh.

They came carrying their household possessions in "crubags" on horseback, and leading their wives, children and cattle over roadless hills and moors, poorly shod and clad and fed. When they came they had not where to lay their heads. "They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins—being destitute, afflicted, tormented ; they wandered in deserts and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth." There was no one before them who could shelter them. Their children were born under the shelter of the rocks and in caves by the sea shore. Their sick and their aged were subjected to unspeakable hardships till death mercifully released them, and they were received into everlasting habitations.

Referring to their sufferings, Mr. Maciver wrote:—"The feeling created by the introduction of sheep in the early years of the century, and by the clearances in Strathnaver, which were carried out in a harsh and ruthless manner by some of the parties who acted for the Sutherland estate, and by removals of crofters to make way for sheep, had generated a strong rebellious tendency in the minds of the lower classes in Sutherland against their superiors."

The Duke's factor and ground officers granted and allocated lots of land to the refugees in such spots as the poor creatures blindly selected.

They settled in Kinsaile, Moll Ban, Rhimhichie, Achlyness, along the coast from Rhiconich to Achrisgill river, in Achrisgill, Rhuvoult, Inshegra, Badcall, Kinlochbervie, and Oldshore in such spots as were not already occupied.

Their first task was to erect some shelter. Their houses were of the most primitive order. How could they be otherwise? A foundation was cleared, usually at the head of the allotment, and walls of stone and turf were raised. Lime or even clay was not obtainable, and so they used turf to make the walls air-tight. Their chief difficulty was to obtain wood for roofing, which consisted of turf divots and heather or bent.

They lived on shell fish and such other fish as they could catch. They had not been accustomed to the sea, but it was kind to them. It was then teeming with fish. The trawler had not come upon the scene to scatter and destroy the spawn. What they suffered during the first years of occupation it is now impossible to relate, but the sufferings and privations of those years of oppression and want left their mark on the most thoughtful among them, and sent many to premature graves.

This large influx of people made it necessary for the church to supply them with the ordinances of religion. Kinlochbervie was but a sample of many districts in the Highlands in which the population had been doubled, and even trebled, in the short time of two or three years. So great were the changes, owing to the evictions, that the Church appealed to Government to provide churches and ministers. The response was great and, on the whole, generous. Churches and manses, known as Parliamentary Churches, were erected, and a sum voted for ministerial stipends. One of these was erected at Kinlochbervie—the first church in the district—in 1829.

The land which they were allowed to reduce to a state of cultivation could not have been wrought by the plough. It was not only in a state of nature, but so rough and stony that pinch, pick, and spade were the only instruments fit to be used on it. The appearance of these lands, at the present time, suggests a long process of laborious and unremunerative effort that is extremely pathetic. The little heaps of grey stones with which these holdings are dotted, and the dykes surrounding them were dug from the patches of soil that became the fields in which they grew their crops.

The superior moderns, who smile at the caschrom and caib, have little understanding of the poverty of the soil, or of the futility of the toil of the poor folk, who were condemned to eke out a living from land like that. A little knowledge might modify their foolish scorn.

When unremitting labour reduced the rough land to arable patches or fields the landlord gave expression to his appreciation by increasing the rent, and there was no appeal. Pay or go was the law. These increases took place as a rule on the succession of a son or other relative after the decease of a holder—a mean form of death duty.

When the Reay Estate passed into the hands of the Sutherland family it was without roads. The Duke took a most enlightened and generous interest in the construction of roads, by means of which the country was opened up to the great advantage of the local people and of the general public. The first road was constructed from Kylesku to Durness, and thence to Tongue. Mails were conveyed by Kylesku and Inchnandamph to Lairg, and by Durness and Tongue to Thurso. Foot runners went and came between Kinlochbervie and Invershin, by Loch Garbad, Loch More, and Lairg.

The outbreak of the potato disease in 1846 caused much distress throughout the Highlands, and particularly in this parish. Funds were raised by public subscription to relieve distress, and a National Committee was formed for the equitable and judicious distribution and administration of the money throughout the affected area. That Committee recommended that work should be given to able-bodied men, who were in need, and who were willing to work at road-making. Public money would thus be used for the public service while at the same time it relieved the immediate distress.

The Duke of Sutherland informed the Committee that he would look after his own poor, and that no grants would be needed from the Fund. At the same time he placed a large amount of money in the hands of his factor, Mr. Evander Maciver, to provide work and food for the people, saying, "that none must die for want of food." The road from Rhiconich to Kinlochbervie was finished, and extended to Sheigra under this scheme.

At the same time, and rising out of the same distress, the road from Lairg to Laxford was constructed. It cost 7,000, the Duke paying one half, and the National Committee the other. The benefits of that road have been incalculable. At first, mail gigs went and came twice a week to Lairg. Later there was a mail every second day, and eventually a daily mail each way. Thus the potato disease, which was a sore calamity at the tithe, has, by the wise fore-thought, self-sacrificing service, and co-operating goodwill of our fathers, proved a real blessing to succeeding generations.

The estate management took advantage of the distress to remove many families from the parish, in order to form sheep farms. Mr. Maciver tells us that he strongly advised His Grace to assist the crofters to emigrate. "This," he says, "was an immense relief to the remaining crofters, as the land possessed by the emigrants was divided amongst them." That would have been a humane policy, if congestion and distress were mitigated by emigration and enlargement of holdings for those who remained. The facts, however, as revealed by Mr. Maciver himself, show that the land cleared was not given to the remaining tenants, but was formed into sheep farms.

In the case of Handa we have this illuminating statement: "It was deemed best to convert it into a sheep grazing. My farm being directly opposite to it, I became tenant of it, and I occupied it for upwards of forty years." The people who removed from Handa did not all emigrate. Some of them settled in the already congested district of Kinlochbervie. Kinsaile and Moll Ban were cleared and Rhimhichie formed into a sheep farm with 1,920 acres ; Skercha was cleared and made a sheep run with 4,470 acres; the district between Rhiconich and Achrisgill river was cleared and given to the hotel-keeper, 1,520 acres; Shegra was cleared and made a sheep run of 1,300 acres; Sandwood was cleared and made a sheep farm with 1,940 acres. Not an acre of the land cleared went to the enlargement of the holdings of the remaining tenants, unless Sandwood may possibly be conceived as such a case. It was let to Hugh MacKay, merchant, Kinlochbervie, who already occupied Kinlochbervie farm.

The population varied greatly in those years. In 1851 there were nearly 1,000 people in the parish. In 1861 it was between 800 and 900. The population in 1921 was 671. By 1931 it had fallen to 593, that is by 78 or 11.6 per cent.

The first school at Badcall Inchard was built on the shore, as people travelled along the shore before roads were constructed. Boats conveyed pupils from Achlyness and Rhimhichie to the school. For a time the teacher was Air. Samuel Grant. When the road to Kinlochbervie was made the new school was built at the roadside.

The old school on the shore was converted into a storehouse. During the years 1846 to 1849, the Duke placed a large sum of money in the hands of Mr. Maciver to be used at his discretion to relieve distress among the people. The inside walls of the school were lined with tin foil. The floors were covered in the same way. Quantities of meal were conveyed in bulk by ship from Caithness and placed in the store for sale to the people at a reasonably cheap rate. The meal was lifted in buckets out of the ship's hold and transferred ashore in small boats. Factory-made meal sacks were not then in use.

In the early sixties steam-boats came with supplies. Meal and other goods were properly labelled and invoiced, addressed to each consignee. There were no local merchants except Hugh MacKay, Kinlochbervie. It was then Colin Morrison, Balachrick, began to deal in groceries, dry goods and live stock. He prospered. He was a big-hearted, generous soul, who, though childless himself, could not bear to think of a hungry child without supplying the parents, however deeply they may have been indebted to him. It is said that when Colin was dying he sat up in bed with his books on his knees and his pen in hand, and cancelled all his outstanding arrears, praying, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors."

Up till then the people grew their own barley and oats, and made their own meal. There was a mill on the river at Oldshore from time immemorial, and a small mill was erected on Achrisgill river after tenants had settled in the district. Each township had its own kiln, where the grain was prepared for the mill. The drying of the corn was an art in which some, both men and women, were experts.

The kiln was a social centre where young people met in the warmth of the oven, and spent the long nights in song and story. Every house had its riddle to winnow and separate the chaff from the grain, and its sieve to separate the husks from the meal. When the meal returned ground from the mill, the sifting process was a heavy task—a task which fell too often to the lot of the women of the household, who toiled hard for their daily bread. They not only sifted the meal—they baked it, and of the husks they made "sowans," that most delightful of all cooling drinks in summer, or of heating drinks in winter.

The Great War.

It is not necessary for us to receive a certificate from anyone as to the character of the people of the parish, but if a certificate were needed for their public and social behaviour, no one was better fitted to give it than the late factor, Mr. Maciver, for he was not known to have shown much love for the people. In his reminiscences he left his opinion of them in the following passage:—"The crofters on the Sutherland estates had been treated with kindness ; while the rents of the large farms had been more than doubled, the additions made on the death of a crofter and his wife to the rent were trivial, if not nominal, and removal was not carried out except for gross misconduct or illegality, and for thirty years after I became factor, they were easy managed in the Scourie agency. They had confidence in my sense of fairness and justice as their factor, and the rents were paid, as a rule, with regularity; in short, it was satisfactory as compared with most Highland estates with crofter tenants."

Indeed, throughout the history of the past century, serious crime was unknown. It is questionable if there is a parish in Scotland with so clean a record. A high moral sense has pervaded the community. That was not due to any fear of the law, but wholly to the fear of God, and an enlightened public conscience.

The people of the parish have always been noted for their patriotism. Whenever the country needed men it found them standing at attention. Sixty-six men obeyed their country's call and served in the Great War. Of these nine offered the supreme sacrifice, which love has commemorated in the beautiful Memorial on Rhian point. (See Appendix I.)

One of them, Robert M'Beath, won the most coveted distinction open to any soldier in the ranks, namely, THE VICTORIA CROSS, for a feat of bravery such as has not often been surpassed in the far-flung fields of British warfare. His cool, self-forgetting, and successful action indicated the spirit of his Kinlochbervie comrades. The deeds of the one express the spirit of all.

The official terms of the award speak with restrained eloquence of his "most conspicuous bravery" as follows:-

The King has been pleased to approve of the award of


to the undernamed for most conspicuous bravery on the 20th November, 1917, when with his company in attack and approaching the final objective, a nest of enemy machine guns in the western outskirts of a village opened fire both on his unit and on the unit on the right. The advance was checked and heavy casualties resulted.

When a Lewis gun was called for to deal with these machine guns, L/Cpl. McBeath volunteered for the duty, and immediately moved off alone with a Lewis gun and his revolver. He located one of the machine guns in action, and worked his way towards it, shooting the gunner with his revolver.

Finding several other hostile machine guns in action, he, with the assistance of a tank, attacked them and drove the gunners to ground in a deep dugout. L/Cpl. McBeath, regardless of all danger, rushed in after them, shot an enemy who opposed him on the steps, and drove the remainder of the garrison out of the dug-out, capturing three officers and thirty men. There were in all five machine guns mounted round the dug-out, and by putting them out of action he cleared the way for the advance of both units.

The conduct of L/Cpl. McBeath throughout three days of severe fighting was beyond praise.

The Divisional Commander congratulates the recipient. Date of award, 11th. January, 1918.

L/Cpl. McBeath was attached to the Sutherland and Caithness Battalion (Territorial) of the Seaforth Highlanders.

The publication of the news of his heroic exploit and of His Majesty's award caught the imagination of the Highland people, who proudly feted the hero and presented him with a large sum of money as an expression of their boundless admiration.

After demobilisation he went to Canada where he joined the Police Force in the City of Vancouver. Always brave and fearless, he was placed on night duty in a part of the city noted for disorder, the rendezvous of all nationalities, where he was shot dead while on his rounds. It was a distressing calamity which filled all who knew him with general regret. That a hero, who had won the highest award of his King and the highest esteem of his friends, who seemed to have a promising future in the sphere of service he had adopted, and who was still but a youth, should have been cut off by the hand of a skulking assassin, was a tragedy well calculated to produce, as it did, feelings of profound sorrow and disappointment.

When the Duke of Sutherland resolved to sell his estate in small parcels, this parish was put up for sale and was purchased by a native, the late Mr. George Morrison.

Mr. Morrison was born in Strathan, where his father was for many years a shepherd on the farm of Keoldale. He was educated at home, principally by the late Mr. George MacKay of Badcall (who had been tutor to many lads who afterwards prospered), and at Oldshore School. He was a lad o' parts. Though he went out into the world penniless, he carried with him two valuable assets in life, a high ideal of duty, and a great love for his native place. Fortune smiled upon him, and when opportunity offered, he bought Kinlochbervie, and became the proud laird of his native parish. He did not find it a gold mine, however, and, beginning to feel the hand of time and disease heavy upon him, he sold it to the late General Stronach. He then retired to his farm in Ullapool where he died.

Brigadier-General Robert Summers Stronach, C.B.E., was Vice-Chairman of Roadrails Ltd., the Stronach-Dutton Roadrails Patent, which was operated mainly abroad. He surveyed the ground for the introduction of the system between Lairg and Kinlochbervie.

He was educated at Merchiston, served with the Colonial Forces in the Boer War, when he was severely wounded. In the Great War he was Director of Roads and Bridges.

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