WHEN travelling south to Edinburgh many years ago with my wife and two young boys, we stopped at the Old Mill in Blair Atholl for a break. The atmosphere was usually warm and pleasant as the mill wheel would gently set up a throb in the building. We got our coffee, drinks and cake and sat down opposite another table where an older couple were sitting.

Our peace was soon shattered by a group, a busload of frenetic tourists who may have been Italian who burst in, ran around looking for anything resembling Scottish souvenirs like tea towels and cards, and just as abruptly left, knocking into the old couples table spilling his drink.

READ MORE: Sorley MacLean: the Gaelic bard whose work still resonates down the years

I went up to the counter and got another cup and took it over to him. “Mr MacLean?” We all sat down and had a good talk with Sorley MacLean, one of the greatest poets of this century, missed and overlooked my a small army of seekers of Scottish culture.

(After reading Hamish MacPherson’s tribute in Sunday’s National.)

Richard Easson