The distinctiveness of the Scottish Highlands in terms of its landscapes, society and economy has long been recognised. Youngson, 1 writing of the area’s geology, has suggested that the Highlands ‘could scarcely be more geologically different from the rest of Britain if they were part of another continent, and in some areas … they look as if they might be part of another planet’. The inhabitants of this region were viewed in similar terms, during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, by the few English visitors who came into contact with them and by most Lowland Scots.