Tricky telling of the future

All good Scots appreciate that a Seer is someone who could foretell the future. Today we are inundated with seers foretelling either the problems to be faced if we leave the EU or those who extoll the problems of staying in.

These all seem to be Seers regaling us with the future problems of going either way, but they do not seem to be able to extol the potential benefits of staying in or leaving the EU. An optimistic view is surely more cheery than always foretelling doom and gloom.

However in the past up in Ross and Cromarty in the 17th century lived Kevin Mackenzie a labourer on the Earl of Seaforth’s Brahan Estate who could fairly accurately forecast the future.

He was known as the Brahan Seer and foretold the Battle of Culloden; ‘Oh! Drumossie, thy bleak moor shall, ere many generations have passed away, be stained with the best blood of the Highlands.

‘Glad am I that I will not see the day.’

He also predicted North Sea oil ‘Black rain that will bring riches to Aberdeen’.

He forecasted that well in the future ‘Men could walk dry shod from England to France’ and Scotland would have its own Parliament again. Well both these came to fruition with firstly the channel tunnel and secondly the Scots Parliament being reformed in 1999.

All these were predictions well into the future and could not have been disputed at the time the Brahan Seer made them, but you can be too clever at this ploy as he found out when the Countess of Seaforth asked him why her husband had not returned from a business trip to Paris.

The Seer prevaricated for a while but when the Countess insisted he informed her that her husband was dallying with a very attractive young lady in Paris and it could be some time before he returned.

Furious at this she had The Seer, Kevin Mackenzie, put to death as if he was to blame, but she had to take it out on someone and he was the one who told her.

It only goes to show that at times ladies are often better off not knowing the truth.

However the Seer seeing what fate had in store for him predicted the end of the Seaforth line when the last Earl would die after outliving his four sons.

This happened in 1815 when the title became extinct and estates passed into the hands of his sister, the widow of Admiral Sir Samuel Hood.

Brahan Castle is now a ruin, but at Chanory Point there is a memorial to Kevin Mackenzie, the Brahan Seer at the spot where he was put to death. Well I hope you found it a tale worth telling, see you next week.