Ian McCormack of the West Highland Free Press

Tributes have been paid this week to Ian McCormack, the long serving former editor of the West Highland Free Press, who died on Thursday (23rd June) aged 74.

Under his 44 year editorship shinty coverage became an integral part of the Free Press’s weekly offering and Ian was a familiar figure on touchlines throughout the county – most frequently for matches involving Skye, Kinlochshiel and Lochcarron.

Ian was originally from Kilmarnock and knew little of shinty when he arrived in 1975. But he quickly became an enthusiastic convert and that was to prove immensely beneficial for the sport across the next four-and-a-half decades.

As well as helping to promote and encourage shinty in the paper’s immediate circulation area and beyond, the thousands of match reports carried in the Free Press have proved to be a priceless sporting and social record for the region.

Ian’s service to Skye shinty was recognised when the club added him to its list of honorary vice presidents, but he was always equally invested in the exploits of the neighbouring clubs at Balmacara and Battery Park.

Figures from throughout the game have paid tribute.

Friend and former colleague Ross Cowie, who frequently travelled to matches with Ian and coaxed him to join a memorable shinty excursion to Nova Scotia in 1991, said that he “very much doubted if this adopted son of Skye really knew what an enormous contribution he actually made to life in the West Highlands over the last few decades.”

Skye Camanachd wrote: “On behalf of everyone connected with Skye Camanachd we send our deepest condolences to Ian’s family, friends and former West Highland Free Press colleagues.

“Ian’s contribution to the sport of shinty, on and off Skye is immeasurable with his press articles and reports spanning many years.

“Le co-fhaireachdainn dhuibh uile”.

Duncan MacLeod of Kinlochshiel said: “So sorry to hear this sad news. A lovely person who through his reporting did a lot for shinty in this area. We will miss him on the touch line. Sincere condolences to all his family from all at Kinlochshiel Shinty Club.”

And from Lochcarron, Kenny Jeck MacKenzie added: “Ian was a real gentleman. During the shinty season I spoke to him weekly with results and comments. He will be a big miss for west coast shinty. My condolences to all the family.”

The deepest of sympathies are extended to Ian’s family as they grieve his loss.

There will be full tributes to Ian, featured in next week’s West Highland Free Press