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Monday, July 22, 2024

Historic Debut for UHI’s First Ever Shinty Teams at The Littlejohn Tournament

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The University of the Highlands and Islands’ (UHI) and the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association (HISA) made history yesterday as their first ever shinty teams claimed impressive victories at the prestigious Littlejohn and McHue and Porter Tournament.

The men’s team came first, winning the coveted Littlejohn Vase, while the women’s team celebrated their remarkable achievement, taking home the bronze.

Their debut at the tournament would not have been possible without the generous sponsorship secured from industry partner, Kishorn Port Ltd, a key player in the energy sector within the Highland region.

The esteemed student shinty tournament is hosted annually by the University of St Andrews. Scottish universities have long been pivotal in the development of shinty, with the Littlejohn Vase being a testament to this tradition since 1905.

Renowned as the second most valuable sporting trophy in Scotland, following the Scottish Cup, it holds significant historical and cultural importance within the sport. 

UHI works closely with HISA, and Amanda Fleet, Sports Development Coordinator for HISA was the driving force behind the development of the UHI shinty teams.

Since her appointment, she has championed the development of shinty at university level and the creation of a well-attended and sustainable club.

Given the existing pool of talented students engaged in shinty within local community clubs, there was a strong anticipation that there would be significant interest in participating in university-level shinty for a UHI team.

She said: 

The response we had from students when putting together the team was incredible.

“Our team consists of very talented players who were excited to represent their university.

“This is a brilliant start for the growth of shinty across the UHI partnership and we’d like to offer a big thanks to our wonderful sponsor, Kishorn Port, for making this all possible.”

In 2023, HISA drew up a Memorandum of Understanding with the Camanachd Association, the main governing body of shinty, promising to provide more opportunities for UHI students in the sport.

Participating in the Littlejohn and McHue and Porter Tournament was a great opportunity to drive forward this collaboration.  

Dr Iain Morrison, Dean of Student Experience commented:

“Shinty is Scotland’s iconic community sport with deep, historical roots in the regions we serve.

“We work very closely with the Camanachd Association to help grow and develop what is a vibrant and thriving game.

“It has long been a personal ambition of mine to see a university shinty team and we are extremely proud of every one of our students who put on a UHI shirt or the first time yesterday at the Littlejohn and McHue and Porter Tournament and a massive congratulations to them all.”

UHI’s engagement with Kishort Port Ltd, as one of their valued industry partners, led to a request being made for them to sponsor the new men’s and ladies’ UHI teams for the 2024 season, providing essential resources such as kits, sticks, and vital transport costs. 

Alasdair Ferguson, Director of Kishorn Port Ltd expressing enthusiasm for this partnership, said:

“We are very pleased to be sponsoring UHI’s first ever, newly created shinty teams.

“A huge well done for their achievements yesterday, first trophy in the bag! 

“Kishorn Port has ambitious expansion plans in the energy transition and aquaculture sectors, which will create new opportunities and jobs for UHI graduates, particularly in rural areas.

“We see this sponsorship as a very good fit for our business, and we are delighted to be associated with and supporting the students of UHI.

“It is also a great opportunity to promote the national sport of shinty which is very close to my heart like many others in the Highlands and Islands, and we are very much looking forward to supporting the teams and following them in both their shinty and academic careers.”

Alison Wilson, Director of Economic Development and Advancement at UHI, emphasised the importance of industry partnerships, said:

“Partnerships like these are vital to UHI.

“We want to enhance the experience of our 36,000 students, encouraging them to pursue their careers here in the regions we serve.

“Support from leading companies in growth sectors like this makes a real difference.

“It’s a privilege to be working alongside Alasdair and the team at Kishorn Port Ltd, as together we can support students who will play a pivotal role in fuelling the renewable energy sector over the decades to come.

“Everyone at UHI is delighted that the dream of creating a UHI shinty team became a reality yesterday, and what success in lifting the trophy.

“I can almost hear the noise levels that would have been on the team bus home.”

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