Ian Abernethy, the Lochaber freelance journalist who has just completed 50 years in the business, is the winner of this year's Barron Trophy, which recognises lifetime achievement in journalism in the Highlands and Islands.
Ian, who now runs a second-hand book shop in Fort William and continues to provide reports to local and national newspapers on a freelance basis through his agency, Abernethy Highland Press, will receive his award at the annual Highland and Islands Media Awards' ceremony on Friday 5 February at the Newton Hotel, Nairn.
After providing reports to local newspapers as a young teenager, Ian got his first fully accredited job in journalism in 1959 as Lochaber correspondent of the Press and Journal. He later worked for the Highland News Group before heading to London in 1963 to work in the Press Services Division of the Central Office of Information.
Ian returned to Lochaber in 1980 and, took up, where he left off, with the Lochaber News, while still supplying other regional and national newspapers as a freelance.
Ian was nominated by Iain Ferguson, owner of The Write Image, Fort William, who said: “Ian is still the first call of newspapers across the world on all matters concerning Lochaber, such as mountain rescues on Ben Nevis, on-location blockbusting movies, and the steam trains 'setting the heather on fire'.
“Ian looks after not only their interests, but also those of the people he features to ensure fairness, satisfaction and quality journalism all round. He is renowned in the area as Roamer, collecting and publishing anecdotes of life in Lochaber, which can also be the small acorns from which great stories grow.
“He still writes on from his office which doubles as a base for his other interest in buying and selling second hand, out-of-print and antiquarian books.
“A man of many printed words, surrounded by many printed words, Ian is a worthy recipient of an award which recognises a lifetime of work and dedication to the trade – as well as marking his distinctive contribution to journalism in the Highlands and beyond.”