FOR nine years I carried on business at
Newtonmore, seven miles from where I first saw the light of day.
Newtonmore in those days and even now was greatly sought after as a
The best asset a man can have in life is a good wife, and now I wanted
to put my early affections to the test, and well and truly have I been
rewarded. It was a real Highland wedding on 2nd July 1905, driving from
Kingussie with a jolly company and a good stepping pair of horses, my
groomsman in full Highland dress, my brother Donald playing his
bagpipes, along by Glentruin and the Spey valley, passing the spot where
I spent my childhood days until we reached the Parish Church, at Laggan
Bridge. Here I met my bride who had driven up from Cluny on the opposite
side of the Spey.
The service was conducted by the Rev. D. S. MacLennan, the Parish
Minister, a man greatly beloved, after which all adjourned to the
Drumgask Hotel, where the usual Highland feasting and fun were engaged
in, and the send-off to the newly wedded pair was a scene ever to be
During my years in Newtonmore I took a keen interest in all that
pertained to the welfare of the village and was duly elected to the
Parish Council of Kingussie, my first experience of local government. I
found it very interesting and have been associated with local government
In those days everybody took a keen interest in government affairs, and
a Parish Council election caused more stir and excitement than does a
Parliamentary election today. It was a severe test to face the electors
and give an account of one’s stewardship for those old worthies could
put some very pointed and searching questions to the candidate although,
of course, at times not quite relevant. It was all very good fun, the
people were interested, and what else mattered.
As a house-letting agent, I came in contact with most locals and
visitors. I had a “Guide to Newtonmore” published, one of the first of
its kind, and this brought me considerable business. Shooting-lodges
were well let, and needed supplies of all kinds. The winter months gave
more time for the consideration of local amenities, and I shall always
feel proud of the fact that I was one of the committee who were
responsible for the building of the new Hall—a spacious building with
all modern conveniences, one of the best or perhaps the best asset that
the village has got. It is gratifying to see that the present generation
has launched out in another direction, with the spirit of adventure
maintained, making Newtonmore one of the best holiday resorts in the
Here I feel I must relate a rather amusing story. One day one of the old
worthies—I should say then bordering on his four score years—came into
my premises in apparent pain. I asked him what was the matter. “Oh,”
said he, holding his head with both hands and in the best of Gaelic,
“the toothache, the toothache. I was at the joiner and the shoemaker,
and neither of whom would take the tooth out, but the shoemaker gave me
a pair of nippers and sent me to you.”
“Very good,” said I.
My patient never saw a dentist, and certainly I never extracted teeth.
He was an old man in agony, and something must be done to relieve him.
Taking him to the back premises I asked him to point out the offending
molar. In truth they all could have done with an operation. Knowing
something about getting teeth extracted, I made sure that I had a good
hold and in less than two seconds the offending tooth was on the floor.
Never was there a more grateful man as he said: “Mho mhille beannachd”
(a thousand thanks). In my old friend’s estimation I was a fully
qualified dentist, and there I rested upon my laurels despite the fact
that some other old worthies, having heard of my wonderful skill, wanted
me to do the same to them. I should add that my friend lived for years
afterwards, and was never again bothered with what Robbie Burns truly
defined as the “H— of all diseases”.
In 1914 I left Newtonmore, parting with a most kindly people who for the
little deeds I had done during my sojourn there, presented me with a
very fine oak roll-top desk, with the following inscription on a silver
plate:—“To Angus Macpherson from his many friends in Newtonmore on the
occasion of his leaving for Sutherland, May, 1914”.