Published: 04/01/2012 12:30 - Updated: 04/01/2012 13:01

Strathspey on verge of making history

Members of Strathspey Shinty Club, who hope to be playing in North Division 3 when the new season starts.
Members of Strathspey Shinty Club, who hope to be playing in North Division 3 when the new season starts.

2012 SEES the dawn of an exciting new era for shinty in the Strathspey area following the success of Strathspey Camanachd in their inaugural year in the development league.

The newest club in shinty have decided to apply for entry into the Camanachd Association's, North Division 3 senior league, for the forthcoming season. This is an historic moment for shinty in Strathspey as it will make Strathspey Camanachd the first senior shinty club from the area since Grantown Shinty Club folded post World War II, around 60 years ago.

Before Grantown Shinty Club folded, shinty had been played throughout Strathspey for hundreds of years, and clubs previously existed at Grantown, Dulnain Bridge, Nethy Bridge, Carrbridge and Boat of Garten. Therefore it is a strong part of the area's heritage, and, hopefully, future.

The team was established at the beginning of 2011 when a group of young enterprising locals put their heads together and started the foundations for a club they hope will continue to grow from strength to strength for many years to come.

The dreams of these young men from the Strathspey area are now beginning to become reality as they look forward to their first year in senior shinty.

Thanks must go to local farmer Robert Macdonald of Castle Grant farm, who, in November, donated a field to the club, which finally gave the team a pitch they could call their home.

Mr Macdonald, who originates from Dunvegan, formerly played for Skye Camanachd Club and therefore sympathises greatly with the shinty cause. The pitch is appropriately positioned next to the original township of Freuchie (Gidhlig: Am Fraochaidh) which the inhabitants abandoned in the 18th century for better homes in the newly built Grantown. The pitch was therefore named Freuchie Park.

If accepted into North Division 3, the team will play around 10 home matches against teams such as Lewis and Kinlochbervie and the more local support on offer the better.

On New Year's Day, the team played a friendly match in the Black Park area of Grantown to give locals a taste of what the sport is all about and to allow them to get involved and have a go.

The match was a huge success. The turn out was fantastic, with the game creating a superb atmosphere that brought locals and visitors together to share in the event.

Read the full story in this week's 'Strathy'

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