As THE new decade began, it was not a happy time for Scottish farmers with terrible weather and the devastating effects of yet another foot-and-mouth outbreak.

There was also a great deal of talk about the European Common Market.

– In 1960, the editor George Millar wrote that 'the first year of the new decade will be remembered more for its grim challenges than for anything else.' The weather had a terrible effect on crops and stock. It was written that, in contrast to the wonderful conditions in 1959, 1960 would 'go down as being dour and difficult, wet and depressing, and in some areas such as the North-east of Scotland, almost soul destroying.'

– However, more devastatingly there was an outbreak of foot-and-mouth which was widespread and still present in 1961. From early November, until the middle of December, 1960, there were 84 cases, mainly in the North-east. The disease paralysed the normal commerce of farm life in the North-east; social life was at a standstill but this was accepted by farmers and workers alike and by all those connected to agriculture in the vast effort made to stamp out the disease. Other parts of Scotland were also affected – Lanarkshire, Ayrshire, Stirling, Fife and East Lothian. The disease was brought north from England, where there were heavy outbreaks. So widespread was the disease at the end of November that the Scottish National Fatstock Show, in Edinburgh, had to be cancelled. The Royal Smithfield Show went ahead, but without livestock, the first time in the history of the show that this had happened. This outbreak came within only 10 years after the awful outbreak in 1952 which saw tens of thousands of cattle slaughtered.

– The 1960s in general was a decade full of column inches dedicated to the UK joining the European Common Market. There were numerous debates over why the country should or should not join, and countless recommendations from official bodies such as NFU Scotland. The UK applied to join in 1960 and negotiations rumbled on, however the country was not actually allowed to join until March, 1975.