Centuries before my great-grandfather's time,clans had been in violent conflict with each other.The MacGregors' ancestral homeland had been usurped, and some became outlaws. They stole livestock and slaughtered rivals. Mary,Queen of Scots, sanctioned retribution by other clan chiefs, so MacGregors adopted untraceable surnames, including colours like Brown or Black.
From my home in London's busy commuter belt Aberdeenshire seems very distant.
'I tracked them down', I told Andy. 'I've touched base.'