Obituary: John MacDonald

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Always known as Ian, he was born on the farm Cuilaneilan, Kinlochewe, Ross-shire on July 16, 1943.

Ian was the eldest of three sons to Duncan MacDonald from Invergarry, where the MacDonalds were known within the farming community. His grandfather John MacDonald bought cattle from the Isle of Skye, south-west Ross and Lochaber and walked them to the sales in Falkirk.

His father died at a relatively early age when Ian was still in his teens and so along with his brother Malcolm took over running of the farm, reclaiming and draining the land and expanding flood prevention schemes. They ran a flock of north country Cheviot sheep and a herd of hill cattle.

Not one for extensive travelling, he enjoyed the business and social events at arts and sheep sales throughout the Highlands. He much enjoyed the Lairg lamb and tup sales, supporting the sales there and often selling his own lambs at the September sales. He sent a consignment of lambs to the sale in September 2018 but, owing to ill health, he was unable to attend so Malcolm sold them for him.

He was a regular buyer of tups at the Lairg sale from 1964, buying from breeders in Sutherland, Ross-shire and the Borders. Ian was well thought of throughout the farming community.

He became unwell in 2013 and, after a spell in hospital, made a reasonable recovery. It was a wrench for him to have to give up the farm in November 2018. He was, however, still able to stay in the farmhouse at Cuilaneilan and keep some ewes on croft land on the Black Isle.

Ian became unwell again in the summer of 2018 but he managed to get out on his quad bike on the croft, going around his stock. He was able to attend the mart in Dingwall selling some stock in early November.

He was again admitted to hospital at the end of November 2018 and sadly passed away on December 3.

He was a man of deep faith. Ian will be sadly missed by the community and in the family home. He had a wealth of knowledge about the history of the district and was willing to share this with any who were interested.

His funeral service on December 17 filled Kinlochewe Free Church with
mourners coming from throughout the Highlands, and also from the Lowlands and east coast. A fitting tribute was paid to Ian by his close friend Ronnie Ross of Loch Rosque.

As the funeral cortege passed the farm cottage it paused. This was the house he was born in and lived in throughout his life. The cemetery in Kinlochewe is only a few hundred yards from the farm house.

Close friends, shepherds and farmers carried his remains to the graveside. On a cold but dry, December day he was laid to rest overlooking the farm and the snow capped mountains of Beinn Eighe and Coulin, that we loved so much.

Eight family members and four close friends lowered his remains into the grave. Both the service at the church and the graveside were conducted by the Rev Colin MacLeod.

Ian is now gone from our midst. He was a true Highland gentlemen.