Donald Ross and the Highland Clearances
'Yet still the Blood is Strong'
- Andrew Ross
15th June 2023
The Highland Clearances was a dark episode in Scottish history when thousands of people were forced off lands that they and their kin had lived on for generations. They ended up on small barren plots by the coast, or in city slums, or boarded ships destined for the colonies. Their suffering was exacerbated by the Potato Famine. A few men were outspoken against the atrocities and appealed to a benevolent public, such as Donald Ross, who’s most famous publication was 'The Massacre of the Rosses'.
Donald was born in Sutherland and became the Miller on the Skibo Castle Estate. After being evicted his family moved to Glasgow and he helped many poverty-stricken people receive poor-relief payments. Donald tirelessly campaigned against the Highland Clearances and supplied many starving people in the Hebrides with food, clothes and fishing boats. Donald became the Agent for the Glasgow Association in Aid of the Poor and within 2 years helped over 1,500 people get poor-relief payments that were being withheld by the Parochial Boards. He set up The Highland Benevolent and Industrial Society and employed women on Skye to make high-quality stockings to sell in Glasgow. His is a tragic but inspiring story.