Few today know of the remarkable family, ‘the Cranachans’ that lived on a
remote hill farm to the east of Fort William in Lochaber.
Their most interesting period was the second half of the nineteenth
century when ‘the Cranachans Lads’ were the champion athletes of
Scotland, travelling to London and sweeping the board at both heavy and
running events in front of Queen Victoria. Colin won the Gold medal for
having won the largest number of prizes at the fete. He was a runner, threw
the hammer and tossed the caber. The Times of the day stated at the finish
that he was ‘like a stag from his native hills’.
The brothers were cattle and sheep farmers, greatly respected at the time
and frequently in the newspapers for their sporting achievements and acts
Their first cousin, ‘Long John’ and his son Donald Peter went from farming
to being the biggest distillers in Scotland. While in Australia, another cousin
Mary MacKillop, a nun was building an educational order, eventually being
made Australia’s first saint in 2010.