ONE of the Highlands best-known athletes, Fort William taxi driver Eddie Campbell, has died of cancer. He was 64.

He was never one to use wheels where his feet would serve and when he could not get his daily run, in the last few months, got ``a wee bit crabbit.''

As a shinty referee, he thought nothing of running the 10 miles to Spean Bridge, then back again afterwards. It was just a day's training, after all, for a man who in his lifetime ran up Ben Nevis some 1200 times.

In September, after 44 successive years, he missed the Ben race for the first time because of his illness.

The first of Campbell's three successive Ben race victories was in 1952, and he remains the only Scot to have achieved the feat. A founder member of Lochaber Athletic Club, and initiator of the Lochaber marathon and half marathon races, he won the Ben race five times in all, the most prolific Scottish winner.

Mr Campbell was still on the active referee's list and oldest active one in the Cammanachd Association.

He is survived by his wife, Chrissie, and three sons and three daughters.