The Mowat family of Craigmaud Farm north of New Pitsligo is very interesting. The name first caught my eye because John Mowat Senior gave songs to Gavin Greig, and John Junior was recorded both by J M Carpenter and KG. When I saw the KG Ole Miss listings they were under the heading 'Mowat Family' so I naturally assumed there were direct family relationships. between John Mowat, Emily Sinclair, Helen Scott and Mrs Stuart.
However, when I checked Tobar an Dualchais I learned that Emily Sinclair was the farm housekeeper, and that Helen, known as Ella, was also recorded at Little Burnthill Farm along with William [Wullie] Scott, who I assumed was her husband, and her maiden name was Mowat. Oh no!
The Scotts lived near Fraserburgh, so I tried the Broch Facebook page, and struck platinum. Ella Scott was still with us, aged 97, her brother Wullie had died some years ago, Ella Sinclair had been her aunt.
Julie Campbell, the wife of Ella's nephew Robert phoned me. Ella still lived independently, 'up a stair' in Fraserburgh, where she and Wullie had moved after the death of their father.
Natalie Chalmers, herself a Brocher, and Scott Gardiner, agreed to visit and interview Ella when they were in the area, but when that eventually became possible I phoned Julie and found Ella had had a fall and was hospitalised., a visit was not a good idea. After seven weeks I checked again, and now Ella had been transferred to Fraserburgh hospital, and was much improved. Natalie & Scott visited after all, on 20th April.
Natalie recorded their discussion, which included Ella's nephew Robert, and was in rich Doric accents. Details below.

Here are Ole Miss Archive listings of some songs recorded at John Mowat's farm in 1960.


Down on the Farm; The [indecipherable] Poets / Mrs. Sinclair and Mrs. Stuart; Barnyards o' Dilgaty / Mr. Howat; [indecipherable] / Mr. Mowat; Jamie Raeburn / Helen Scott; The Scottish Immigrant Farewell / Helen Scott; The High Roads of Pennan / Mrs. Sinclair; The Tinkers Wedding / Mrs. Sinclair; [indecipherable] / Mr. Howat


This Cronie o' Mine / Mr. Howat; [indecipherable] River Banks / Mr. Howat; Bogieside / Mr. Howat; The Boghead Crew / Mrs. Sinclair; When the Chap Come Home / Mrs. Sinclair; Nancy Whiskey / Mr. Howat; The Gleamin' Star / Mrs. Stuart; The Bonnie Irish Boy / Mrs. Sinclair; Captain Wedderburn / Mr. Mowat

FROM Wilma Tait
Willie Scott is 3rd from left, Ella Scott is 4th from left and their sister Alice Campbell (nee Scott) 5th from left (she also played piano and accordion. This was taken at a party at Alice’s house(I’m the baby)

Interview with Ella Scott of Fraserburgh in Fraserburgh Hospital, Sunday 14th April 2024
Natalie Chalmers and Scott Gardiner, and Ella’s nephew Gordon Campbell

Ella sang at Burns suppers [Ochtermore?], but not in school. Her dad played moothie, the family were musical, would have singsongs. Her great grandfather was a singer. The family were farmers, not fishers. In 1956 Ella’s father went to ‘Burnties’ [Little Burnthill Farm]. Great grandfather had previously farmed there, but gone on to other places. Ella’s mother worked in the construction trade in the Broch.
Ella learned the song The Gloaming Star from her mother. Her mother ‘knew all the Scottish songs’ and Irish ones too. They would play the winding up gramophone. Ella was taught to sing The Isle Of Capri’. Her grannie ‘had a book of songs’.
Gordon commented that the recordings of Ella singing was maybe not her because pitched too high? But she was younger then. Ella had read about KG in a newspaper, and written to him to make contact. When he and his family lived in Strichen they had no central heating. The kids attended Strichen school.
The four people discussed singers and musicians they had heard, about the Buchan tongue e.g the word sway or swey, cooking on a girdle, how farmer hands would go in ‘steerage’ on boats caring for the cattle being sent across to Argentine, about the Mormond Hill stag and horse, White Rock, Ord Hill, the Broch place Nine Maidens, Broch words, lichtie, trainie, railway track, fly, stour, dyke, supper time, ‘gutters maning dubs, nunnie, spelling Stuart or Stewart, about the Fetterangus Stewarts