Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Obituary: Lonach Horseman Willie Gray dies aged 83

Horseman Willie Gray with Mac the horse
Horseman Willie Gray with Mac the horse

A stalwart figure involved in one of Scotland’s oldest Highland games has died, aged 83.

Willie Gray brought up the rear of the famous Lonach Highlanders march with his faithful horses for decades, ever since he “fell into the role” of Lonach Horseman in the early 1970s.

Mr Gray, who farmed in Corgarff for 46 years, even continued in the position after his retirement around seven years ago.

The honorary member of the Lonach Society was known by his friends and family – as well as most of those he met at the annual Lonach Gathering – as a fantastic storyteller.

He always enjoyed stopping for a blether after he made his way along the six-mile journey behind the Highlanders to the central arena in Bellabeg.

Mr Gray’s son Derek said his father took his job following the tartan-clad clansmen on their nearly 200-year-old march through Strathdon very seriously, and was proud to maintain the tradition.

And now, the reins of the Lonach Horseman have been passed from father to son – as Derek now fills the role with his own horse, Socks.

Derek, 52, said: “They didn’t have a horse, and that’s how my father fell into the role, because he had one called Donald that was going spare.

“He came back the year after, and was involved with Lonach for basically the rest of his life.

“And now I’ve slipped into the role, and this will be my fifth year with my horse Socks.

“It was something he really enjoyed doing. He liked the attention, and liked speaking to folk and telling them stories – but you were never ever sure if his stories were 100% accurate, or just 100% accurate according to him.

“My eldest son will be marching for the first time this year, so it’s good to be handing these things down the line.

“I would think he might take the horse one day in the future, but we’ll see about that.”

Mr Gray added: “He loved being a grandfather.

“We were speaking about our favourite memories of him, and my son brought up the time when they were little wee kids and he was trying to teach them to whistle.

“He’d whistle so hard his false teeth would fly out of his mouth onto the floor. He really had fun with them.”

Mr Gray died on Friday morning.

He is survived by his wife Agnes of 57 years, three children, 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]