Dr John Cattanach was an outstanding all-round international athlete and is considered one of the finest shinty players ever to wield a caman.
Born in 1885, John showed exceptional sporting promise from a young age and soon became renowned for his natural ability, superb physique and a scientific approach to shinty. He trained for hour after hour, darting round larch trees and catching the ball before it touched the ground. On his way to play on the local field, he was said to run nearly a mile without letting the ball touch the ground.
This peerless skill won him fame throughout the Highlands and he became a tower of strength to the Newtonmore team, which he captained in a victorious season during a vintage period in the club’s history. His most spectacular individual performance came in the 1909 Camanachd Cup Final in Glasgow, where he scored eight goals in an 11-3 victory over Furnace – a record that still stands to this day.
He was also capped for Scotland at hockey and athletics, where he excelled in sprinting and the long jump.
Dr Cattanach was also a qualified medic, graduating from the University of Edinburgh in 1912 and serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps, Warwickshire Regiment. After becoming a Lieutenant in 1914, he died the following year, succumbing to wounds sustained in the Dardannelles during World War I.
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