Ewen MacMil­lan Camp­bell


EWEN, the Auc­tion­eer, as he was af­fec­tion­ately known was ‘a true Lochaber man’, as was stated on many of the hun­dreds of sym­pa­thy cards which the fam­ily re­ceived fol­low­ing his death on Oc­to­ber 10.

Ewen was born on the fam­ily croft at 72 Ca­m­aghael, to Lachie and An­nie on De­cem­ber 29, 1945. He at­tended Banavie Pri­mary School where, among other achieve­ments un­der the tute­lage of the leg­endary Wal­ter Cameron, he was a mem­ber of the MacKay Cup-win­ning shinty team of 1956. It was some­thing most young shinty play­ers would give their hind teeth for.

He then at­tended the old Fort Wil­liam Sec­ondary School. He was also a mem­ber of the Scouts and hap­pily re­called var­i­ous trips they went on, es­pe­cially one to Bel­gium.

Ewen had wanted to be an auc­tion­eer from a very young age and his brother Don­ald re­calls how un­fair he felt it was that his big brother was al­lowed days off school to go to the sales at the mart and he wasn’t.

Ewen was al­lowed to leave school early at only 14 years of age when Don­ald Cameron (DC) a di­rec­tor of Ben Ne­vis Auc­tion Mart asked if he could come and do some part-time work to help out. Ewen started work on a full- time ba­sis on July 1, 1961, as a ju­nior and was pro­moted to man­ager in the late 1970s.

He re­mained there for the next 39 years build­ing up the mart to a recog­nised live­stock cen­tre. He was em­ployed by United Auc­tions and served as a di­rec­tor for many years . In the mid-1990s, United Auc- tions went into part­ner­ship with Ding­wall mart and a new com­pany Ding­wall UA Ltd was set up. Ewen’s em­ploy­ment was trans­ferred to the new com­pany and that was the be­gin­ning of the end for him as a live­stock auc­tion­eer at Cor­pach. To his great shock he was made re­dun­dant six months af­ter the new Ben Ne­vis Auc­tion Mart was built and opened in 1999.

Ewen’s life com­pletely re­volved around the mart and there is no doubt that he ab­so­lutely loved it. Cer­tainly, there were times when it was stress­ful and it put pres­sure on his whole fam­ily but he rarely showed this. He was al­ways very calm and col­lected and treated ev­ery mem­ber of the com­mu­nity with the same re­spect. He was an hon­est, hard-work­ing and re­spected auc­tion­eer who spent hours on the phone at night try­ing to per­suade buy­ers to come to that week’s sale.

As well as the sales at Cor­pach, Ewen and his team trav­elled to Skye to con­duct sales in Ard­vasaar, Tor­rin, Haste and sev­eral hill­side stances in the north end of the is­land. He en­joyed help­ing the farm­ers and crofters to se­cure as high a sale price as pos­si­ble for their live­stock.

Ewen worked well with the lo­cal live­stock hauliers and en­joyed the chal­lenge of or­gan­is­ing trans­port for these sales.

Furniture sales were a high­light of Ben Ne­vis Auc­tion Mart in the 1980s and 1990s with the ring full of boxes and small items be­ing sold on the first day and elec­tri­cal goods and large furniture which filled the pens be­ing sold on the sec­ond day. This was a ser­vice which Ewen pro­vided for the com­mu­nity when the pulp mill was in its hey day. He also con­ducted clear­ance sales all over the West High­lands and Is­lands and en­joyed ev­ery minute of it.

Af­ter a long day sell­ing, Ewen liked to re­lax with a dram or two and lis­ten to coun­try or Scot­tish mu­sic. Al­though not a mu­si­cian him­self, he took great plea­sure in help­ing his grand­chil­dren, Alice and Archie, with their mu­sic prac­tice.

To keep in touch with the farm­ing com­mu­nity fol­low­ing his re­dun­dancy, he took on the Marr and Mac­gre­gor deal­er­ship sell­ing feed blocks and min­er­als as well as do­ing the oc­ca­sional val­u­a­tion and furniture sale.

Away from work, Ewen was a very so­cia­ble per­son, he liked the craic. He was a keen curler for many years and lat­terly en­joyed be­ing part of the 10-pin bowl­ing league. He was sec­re­tary of the Great Glen Sheep Dog Tri­als As­so­ci­a­tion for over 20 years. He was a mem­ber of the Bri­tish Le­gion and also a trustee of Kil­mallie Com­mu­nity Cen­tre.

Ewen was di­ag­nosed with can­cer four years ago and com­pleted three cour­ses of chemo­ther­apy. He died in the most calm and tran­quil man­ner, at home in his own bed with his fam­ily around him and the min­is­ter read­ing the words of psalm 40. One which he had cho­sen.

Ewen was a real High­land gen­tle­man, a view ex­pressed by many of the 800 farm­ers, crofters and mem­bers of the gen­eral pub­lic who paid their last re­spects at his fu­neral ser­vice in Ben Ne­vis Auc­tion Mart. He is gone but he will never be for­got­ten.

An­gus Rod­er­ick Grant, mu­si­cian and in­spi­ra­tion.

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