A true picture of a disturbed and remote country in the sixteenth century will be a picture of contrasts and contradictions. The basic hardships of the country were rooted in its poverty, bad communications, and in the lawlessness of many of the clan chiefs. The fact that the Scottish peers were often in the pay of the English king did not lead to improved relations with clans who were not, or to the general pacification of the country. An additional difficulty, which did not add to the prosperity of the Border territories, was that the country in the Lowlands was fertile, and that the ‘moss troopers’ from the less favoured country over the border in Northumberland were in the habit of carrying outraids against cattle and crops. The Macgregors were known as ‘Children of the Mist’ and it is indeed easy to see that the mist and the mountains were the allies of violence.