Visiting the Hebridean island of Mull today, it's not long before someone mentions the steep decline in population that the Scottish highlands and islands suffered 150 to 200 years ago. And it was a depopulation that the crofters were powerless to do anything about - in a phrase that sounds a knell almost as chilling as today's 'ethnic cleansing', the Highland Clearances are still talked of as one of the most harsh pieces of social manipulation in Britain's history.
A long-drawn-out lament mourned in song and poetry ever since.
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