Shinty festival highlights needs for indoor facilities

Action from Rockfield Primary School v Strathkelvin.Photograph: Iain Ferguson,

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A steady flow of teams from Argyll and Bute made the journey to Fort William on Saturday for the Camanachd Association National Primary Schools shinty festival finals.

The competition was back after a lengthy layoff and gave teams from across Scotland a chance to compete against each other.

Tighnabruaich, Inveraray and Rockfield Primary schools all headed to the Nevis Centre for the P6-7 age group while at P4-5 Rockfield, and a combined Dalmally and Inveraray team played their matches at Lochaber High School.

Les Kinvig, development officer for the West region, said he was delighted to see teams from his area competing at this level and that it was a great experience for the slightly inexperienced players who would hopefully benefit from it going forward.

Winners on the day both came from Inverness with Muirtown Primary taking the P6-7 final and Bun-sgoil Gaidhlig Inbhir Nis lifting the P4-5 trophy.

Speaking after the tournament, however, Mr Kinvig highlighted the need for indoor facilities in Argyll and Bute to enable youngsters from his area to compete at this level.

‘We need facilities that are big enough to train and play competitive shinty in,’ he said.

‘Many are having to make do with very small gym halls or community centres that are just not big enough.

‘It is a sad fact for example that the only indoor facility in a town the size of Oban is Atlantis Leisure, who I will add have been very accommodating but it is impractical to expect all teams in that area to be able to use it for training or mini festivals on a regular occurrence.

‘The teams and I do appreciate what is available but to progress shinty in the region we must try to find a solution for better facilities to accommodate indoor wintertime shinty.’

Mr Kinvig added he would be working with Argyll and Bute Council and Live Argyll in order to see if there is a way to increase opportunities.

‘The focus will now shift to the summer season as it is vital that we ensure as many playing opportunities for all children in order to rebuild shinty in the region, he added.

Plans are under way for an outdoor summer league rotating around the region ​to give club and school teams the opportunity to host home festivals.

Mr Kinvig said: ‘For this we will need better collaborations between all who are concerned in youth shinty.’

Anyone wishing to get involved should email

The Camanachd Association would like to thank Ferguson Transport and Shipping for their sponsorship of the Primary Festival and the referees and young shinty ambassadors in helping make the day a success.