A fishing boat skipper has been hailed a hero after he died trying to save a young crew member.
Lachlan Robertson, known as Lachie, did not think twice about leaping into the water when a member of his crew fell overboard in rough seas in the Sound of Rum last week.
Another crewman managed to pull the younger man from the icy water, but by the time they reached 61-year-old Mr Robertson, he was in a critical condition.
Despite desperate efforts, the well-known piper could not be revived.
Over the weekend, Mr Robertson’s daughters Kenna and Rachael invited people to leave flowers at Mallaig Harbour, where an investigation into the tragedy was under way.
Tributes poured in, with people describing their dad as a “gem” of the community and a “true gentleman”.
“Overwhelmed” by floral tributes
In a heartfelt social media post yesterday, they thanked everyone for their support and messages and said they had been “overwhelmed”.
The floral tributes, which were placed on Mr Robertson’s prawn trawler trawler Reul a’ Chuain have now been moved to his home, and completely cover the front door step.
Some remain at the harbour however, by an Iain Chalmers sculpture erected “in memory of those lost at sea”.
Yesterday, local business owners paid tribute to Mr Robertson and spoke of his bubbly character and good nature.
Kevin Heggie, Mallaig’s Co-op store manager, said the community had lost a “key player” who would be missed by all who knew him.
“I knew him through the store,” he said.
“With him having the fishing boat, him and his crew were in here all the time buying their provisions for their stores on the boat.
“He was a big character in the community and well-known.
“It’s a massive loss to everybody in the community; whether they are related to fishing or not.”
Fellow business owner and friend John MacMillan said his death was “terribly sad” for the whole community.
“It’s terribly sad. Everybody knew him as he was a local chap.
“He was just a lovely man and he will be missed.”
Tragedy unfolded on way home
Coastguards and local lifeboat crews were scrambled at about 7pm on Thursday following a Mayday call from Mr Robertson’s trawler, reporting two out of three crewmen had entered the water near Eigg.
It is understood one man fell as he and Mr Robertson tried to pull the nets back aboard in rough seas.
One local fishing industry source said: “Lachie was loved by everyone who met him – a proper gentleman, a legend.
“Lachie and one young crewman, a Romanian, started to try and pull the nets back aboard.
“Somehow the crewman fell overboard and Lachie immediately jumped into the water after him, fearing he would drown.
“The remaining young crewman, from nearby Skye, managed to pull his crewmate out of the sea but it took much longer to retrieve Lachie, by which time he was showing little sign of life.”
A paramedic was lowered onto the boat from the Stornoway coastguard helicopter and a defibrillator brought from a large fish-farm boat, but Mr Robertson could not be saved.
The other man suffered minor injuries but did not require any hospital treatment.
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) is investigating the tragedy.