FIVE shinty clubs from across Lochaber have put aside their differences and come together to promote the sport via a new Facebook page.
The Fort William, Lochaber, Kilmallie, Ballachulish and Glengarry clubs – traditionally seen as ‘auld enemies’ – have put together the ‘Outdoor Capital Shinty’ page to highlight the activities of all five clubs, and to encourage locals and visitors alike to come along and watch the teams in action.
“There has always been a great rivalry between the teams on the field, but off the field there are huge advantages to us working together,” said Fort William chair, Duncan MacPhee.
“There’s a long history of shinty in the area, and the Facebook page is a great way to spread the word and help secure the sport’s future.”
Representatives from each of the five clubs will be posting photographs, match reports and weekly fixtures updates, and while all may be amicable off the field, the odd friendly jibe is almost certain to pop up here and there.
It is hoped the page – which attracted over a hundred fans in its first few hours – will tempt those who’ve never attended a game to go along and lend their support to their local club, while also encouraging new players to take up the sport.
Kilmallie secretary, Linda Campbell, believes the page will have other uses, too.
“When there are last minute changes to start times or match venues, it’s difficult to get the message out. Thanks to the Facebook page, we can spread the word in minutes, helping supporters stay informed.”
Ballachulish chair, Iain Brown, added: “Visitors to the area are always looking for things to do, and are unaware that there’s a fast-paced, exciting traditional Scottish sport going on al through the season.
“By keeping local tourist operators informed, they can encourage tourists to stay in Lochaber, which will have a knock-on benefit to everyone.“
If the Facebook page proves to be successful, the clubs may also join forces on a dedicated website to further promote the sport.
With all this collaboration, is there scope for the clubs themselves to merge and become one ‘Outdoor Capital Shinty Club’?
“No chance!” laughed Michael Oliver, Lochaber Camanachd chair. “I think all the clubs would unanimously agree that would be totally unacceptable!”
If you’d like to lend your support to shinty in Lochaber, and follow along with what the local clubs are doing, head to www.facebook.com/outdoorcapitalshinty.
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