Work to create a new shinty pitch for Kinlochshiel Shinty Club will begin at Balmacara next week.
Funding for the project has now been completed, with the Phase I development supported by a grant of £150,000 from sportscotland and £50,000 from Highland Council.
Kinlochshiel’s senior teams compete in the Premiership and North Division Two while the Junior Club takes part in a wide range of leagues and competitions, and the club has grown in stature and participation over the last few years.
The current pitch at Kirkton has served the club well and has seen many memorable matches. However, poor drainage and a lack of parking and changing rooms mean the facilities are below modern standards, something the club have been keen to rectify.
Keith Loades, chairman of Kinlochshiel Shinty Club said: “We have been overwhelmed by the support from the local community for this development and we are particularly grateful to Mrs Katherine Grant, whose husband, Peter Grant, was president of the club for many years; and John Clamp of Ardelve and Leslie Rush of Harrogate, who both remembered Kinlochshiel in their estates. Their generosity enabled the club to contribute its share of funding to the total project cost.”
He added that the club was grateful to everyone who has contributed to making this very desirable project possible but in particular to Shona MacLennan, whose help, guidance and encouragement have been invaluable. Work will start at the new pitch site at Reraig on Monday 15th September and it is hoped that the pitch will be ready to carry some games towards the end of next season.
By that time Kinlochshiel Shinty Club also hope to have the Phase II development well under way, if not completed. This will comprise a sports pavilion with multi-purpose coaching/training room, changing rooms, kitchen and spectator facilities.
Stewart Harris, chief executive of sportscotland said: “At sportscotland we are working with our partners, to develop more and better facilities right across Scotland to provide greater opportunities for people to participate in sport at every level. Clubs like Kinlochshiel play a significant role in the life of the local community and the development of the sport of shinty, so we were delighted to support their ambitions with investment of £150,000. We wish Kinlochshiel every success with the project and look forward to seeing the first game of shinty played on the new pitch.”
Local councillor and president of Kinlochshiel Shinty Club, Biz Campbell, said she was delighted that Highland Council was able to support the project. She said: “The council supports sport and culture in the Highlands and a new shinty pitch will ensure that both these aspects of Highland life continue to thrive. We look forward to this facility providing a venue for national competitions as well as being the home to a thriving club.”