Bught Park in Inverness, host of many top shinty occasions, is in line for refurbishment, thanks to cash from the UK Government’s levelling up fund.
Nearly £20 million, announced in the budget by chancellor Rishi Sunak, will go to developments in the Highland capital.
Though the final details are still to be worked out, a new grandstand to replace the existing 100-year old structure, as well as facilities and a new shinty museum, could form part of the upgrade
The £20 million package will go towards three schemes brought together under the umbrella of the Inverness Zero Carbon Cultural Regeneration project.
The Northern Meeting Park and the Inverness Castle will also share in the funds, and it is hoped the cash can help attract more major events to the city.
Shinty’s governing body, the Camanachd Association, and Inverness Shinty Club were involved in supporting the application, alongside Highland Council, Highlife Highland and Highlands & Islands Enterprise.
As well as being the home of Inverness Shinty Club, Bught Park is a regular host of the sport’s biggest match, the Camanachd Cup. It is the chosen venue for Scotland’s shinty-hurling internationals with Ireland and every year it also stages the MacTavish Cup final, won recently by Kinlochshiel.
Steven Mackenzie, Camanachd Association president said: “The Camanachd Association look forward to hearing more detail on how this funding will improve facilities at the Bught Park.
“I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all parties involved in this successful funding application but particularly the Camanachd Association directors and staff who have worked closely with Inverness Shinty Club to ensure shinty was an integral part of the funding bid.”
Derek Keir, Camanachd Association Chief Executive Officer said: “The news of the levelling up fund is a true testament to the power of working in partnership and we look forward to playing a key role in supporting the next steps as plans for the Bught Park progress.
“I would like to pay particular tribute to our team at the Camanachd Association (Board past and present and staff) who have played a crucial role in these developments so far, to Inverness Shinty Club for their continued work in the community and to our partners at Highlife Highland, Highland Council and HIE who all played a crucial role, we are very much excited about the next steps”.
John Finlayson, Camanachd Association Director and Highland Councillor said: “I am delighted to hear such positive news for Inverness, the Highlands and the game of shinty and again the success of this bid shows the importance of partnership working between public bodies, sporting organisations and communities.
“I am sure everyone across the Highlands and within the game of Shinty nationally, are excited by the prospect of upgraded facilities at the Bught Park which will help sustain and develop our sport in the years ahead.”
Drew McNeil, Inverness Shinty Club development director said: “Investment in the development of the stadium is overdue.
“It is extremely exciting but it needs to be tempered as the devil is in the detail and that’s not clear yet. We look forward to the future discussions on behalf of Shinty within the city affording Scotland’s first sport a facility befitting the cultural importance of our traditional sport.”