Iain Macwhirter recently wrote an interesting blog posting comparing the Scottish Highlands with the French Pyrenees.
He’s bemoaning how the latter is still populated and full of affordable housing. As he ways, “[o]ne of the reasons I love the Pyrenees is that it’s what I imagine the Highlands of Scotland would have been like had the people not been cleared from the land to make way for sheep and deer.”
This sentiment reminded me of a song by Màiri Mhór nan Oran that we learnt when I attended the Gaelic summer school at the University of Edinburgh a few years before I moved to Scotland. I’ve forgotten the exact words, but I still remember her despair at seeing perfectly viable farms with replaced with sheep.
I don’t know how realistic it would be to reverse the process, but it shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. The Central Belt is overcrowded, and it would be great if people started moving back to the Highlands.