Shinty’s governing body is making early steps towards preparing for the sport’s return – though fans have been told not to expect to see playing action any time soon.
Camanachd Association chief executive Derek Keir has written to clubs with an update following publication of new Scottish government plans to gradually ease lockdown restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Keir said that the sport was “still some way” from a return, but a route map would be developed in line with national advice.
Under the new guidance amateur team sports like shinty look unlikely to resume until phase four of the government criteria has been achieved.
This would be when the virus “remains suppressed to very low levels and is no longer considered a significant threat to public health.”
The Camanachd Association board are due to meet next Thursday (28th May) and Keir said the association would release a questionnaire in the coming weeks to help better understand the impact that Covid-19 has had on shinty clubs.
He added that he had been heartened to see and read about the many efforts of shinty clubs across Scotland during lockdown.
He said: “Clubs are continuing to play a key role in their communities through member and community engagement be that through volunteering, fundraising, individual sporting challenges, online team training, sports quizzes or a variety of other innovative actions.”
The shinty community has recognised the efforts of NHS staff
A series of on-line auctions where customised camans and shinty publications were offered to the highest bidders has seen the shinty community raise the sum of £770 for the Intensive Care Unit fund at Raigmore hospital in Inverness.
Inverness caman-maker Roddie MacLennan of Aird Artisans produced four separate sticks for auction and combined with a similar number of books provided by Hugh Dan MacLennan of Alloa (no relation) the funds attracted a number of significant bids, reflecting the shinty community’s appreciation for the efforts of National Health Service staff in the face of the current Covid pandemic.
Roddie, former shinty player with Inverness, Glen Urquhart and Beauly, and a former forester, who now makes hand-made camans in various historical and traditional styles, from ash and oak mainly, said: “I am completely overwhelmed by the generosity of the individuals who bid the highest amounts to ensure that they purchased the camans and books, but not only that, I greatly appreciate the efforts made by others who moved the sums upwards and onwards from time to time.
“It is a recognition of what the shinty community thinks of the efforts of NHS staff far and wide, not just in Inverness. Thy should know that we appreciate their efforts and I am glad that the camans and the books have found good homes.”
Hugh Dan added: “I was lucky enough to have kept a number of hard-back copies of the Camanachd Association’s centenary volume Shinty back for a rainy day.
“They are as rare as hens’ teeth and I can’t think of a more deserving cause in the current climate than the NHS staff.
“I’m happy to add my signature to the books as long as the recipients don’t feel that I’m devaluating them
“I have to say that Roddie’s outstanding work on the camans he is producing in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from all sorts of wood in the traditional hand-fashioned way, are highly prized and to be able to get one and contribute to such a good cause means a great deal to both of us.”
Roddie and Hugh Dan would like to thank Garry Macleod, Norman MacArthur of MacArthur Builders, Newtonmore; Angus Davidson of Angus Davidson Rural Consultancy Services and Iain MacKintosh of Ardtower Caravan Park for their contributions to the auctions.
Roddie MacLennan of Aird Artisans has been making customised camans for some time now and one of his most recent projects was a hand-crafted caman for the 95th birthday celebrated by Denis Swanson of Inverness.
He is available for historical commissions or camans for special occasions and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everyone associated with Skye Camanachd, and many others in the wider community, were shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden passing of former Skye player Angus Nicolson on Tuesday 19th May.
Angus was a key defender in Skye’s Sutherland Cup winning side which beat Strachur 7-2 in the 1988 final.
Angus also went on to enjoy Strathdearn Cup success with the Skye seconds, and made several appearances in the club’s senior side.
His brother Calum “Columbo” Nicolson was also a long-serving goalkeeper for the islanders.
Away from shinty he was, for many years, a friendly and familiar face at the Portree Harbro store where he was known to many throughout the island and beyond.
The sympathies from everyone at Skye Camanachd went out this week to Angus Nicolson’s wife Philippa, his mother Nancy, brother Calum and the extended family and friends at this difficult time.