Trib­ute to a great hill man – Don­nie Ross

The Oban Times - - Letters -

Sir, It was with great sad­ness we re­cently heard of the pass­ing of Don­nie Ross, who will be a huge loss to the whole ru­ral com­mu­nity of the High­lands.

How­ever, I think we gave him a re­ally good send- off in a unique but fit­ting funeral ser­vice. I can hon­estly say I have never car­ried a cof­fin out on a hill be­fore, but if any­one de­served this, it was big Don­nie.

The fam­ily and the funeral di­rec­tors are to be com­mended for or­gan­is­ing such a spe­cial ser­vice for him and many well re­spected peo­ple and per­son­al­i­ties from many walks of life were there to see him off. Hun­dreds of them were on the hill­side above his home at Lealt Farm.

Ev­ery­one I know loved and re­spected this great hill man.

He al­ways had time to talk to peo­ple and his sto­ries were amaz­ing and so ed­u­ca­tional. He was a great men­tor to me and many oth­ers in­ter­ested in the hills and graz­ing of tra­di­tional live­stock.

The one thing I will re­ally miss is look­ing for­ward to the next let­ter in the press from DW Ross of Lealt. His letters were from the heart and as hon­est as any­thing I have read in print.

His pas­sion for a way of life that sadly seems to be dis­ap­pear­ing and re­spect and en­thu­si­asm for the cul­tural her­itage of the hill men of the High­lands were well ap­pre­ci­ated in many cir­cles.

I just wish more peo­ple in con­ser­va­tion, en­vi­ron­men­tal and agri­cul­tural bod­ies would come out from be­hind their desks and talk more to peo­ple like Don­nie, although they will need to be quick as they are get­ting thin­ner on the ground.

Then they might learn, first, what is prac­ti­cal and what works and how it can be achieved but, se­condly, to look at our his­toric use of the hills and the num­bers of peo­ple who lived there and re­mem­ber it was a highly man­aged land­scape that has cre­ated what we have to­day.

We do not want the use of our hills to change too much from they way they used to be, es­pe­cially for the pro­duc­tion of beef, mut­ton and veni­son.

The day will come with global pop­u­la­tions and green­house gases and car­bon foot­prints when we will be look­ing to our hills again to feed us - when we sud­denly re­alise that we can’t buy lamb in New Zealand and ship it to the other side of the world. It is, af­ter all, morally wrong to burn all those hy­dro­car­bons. E Ruar­idh Ormiston, Croila Croft, Kin­gussie.

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