Youngest-ever Camanachd Cup ref finally honoured 65 years on

A former Lochcarron shinty player who retains the record as the youngest referee of a Camanachd Cup Final was visited by the Camanachd Association president last week.

In 1948, at the age of 29, Alex “Inky” MacKenzie took charge of the final between Newtonmore and Ballachulish in Inverness, which Newtonmore won 4-2. Last week Camanachd Association president Archie Robertson visited Mr MacKenzie, presenting him with a commemorative tie.

Mr MacKenzie played shinty for Lochcarron in his early years but was called up for national service in 1940 and posted to France with the Seaforths. However, shortly after landing in France he was hit by shrapnel when a shell landed next to him and exploded, killing a comrade who was with him.

He was discharged from the Army and returned to live in Inverness but due to the shrapnel injury he was unable to continue playing shinty and instead took up refereeing. As well as refereeing that Camanachd Final 65 years ago, Mr MacKenzie served on many of the north area committees as well as on the association’s disciplinary committee for a number of years.

Mr Robertson said: “The presenta­tion of com­memorative ties to Camanachd Cup Final referees was introduced relatively recently and the Camanachd Association has since tried to ensure that all previous final referees also receive the same tie. Alex MacKenzie is a true ‘Shinty Hero’ and a lovely gentleman. It was a real pleasure to spend time with him and present this very special recipient with his tie.”

“Inky” MacKenzie is pictured receiving his commemorative tie from Archie Robertson.