Kinlochshiel plans for new pitch move forward with funding search

Kinlochshiel Shinty Club’s plans for a new pitch are moving forward, with the outcome of a funding application to sportscotland expected soon.

The £150,000 application has already passed the first stage and the results of the final stage are expected at the end of May.

The work to create the new pitch — as well as a kick-about area and car parking — at Reraig, just east of the Balmacara Hotel, is expected to cost in the region of £400,000. Once work on this is completed a second phase of development is planned which will see the creation of a clubhouse.

A small area of the eight-acre site purchased by the club is to be developed for affordable housing in return for necessary work to widen the road to the pitch. The club has benefited from some very generous donations which have enabled the development to reach this stage, as well as ongoing fundraising in the community.

An application has also been made to Highland Council for £20,000 which, if successful, would complete the funding package required for the pitch development.

A spokeswoman for Kinlochshiel Shinty Club said: “We have to wait for full funding to be in place before we can begin but if these two applications are successful it will be the final brick in the wall. We hope Highland Council will back us, in line with its recent support for Lochaber Sports Association and Sleat and Strath Football Club.”

She added that the club are looking to progress work on the second phase of the development shortly, such as plans for the clubhouse, and thanked the local community for their “huge effort” in supporting the club. “They have got us this far”, she added.

Kinlochshiel’s current home venue at Kirkton does not reflect the club’s success on the pitch. The playing area is smaller than it should be for premier league competition, and it features a notorious slope with electric cables crossing overhead. Changing facilities are in an old stone barn situated on the other side of the main A87 road. On match days players and supporters have to cross the busy road, while limited parking means cars line either side of the road lead to safety concerns.