Pictured: Rory Kennedy (Newtonmore) takes control of the ball at the 2019 Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final.
Since the announcement that all shinty had been postponed for the foreseeable future due to Covid-19, the Camanachd Association has been working to develop a plan for the return of our ancient sport, when it is safe to do so.
Following the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement last week, allowing a return to youth shinty (subject to guidance) these plans have intensified as we look to support clubs in their readiness to host a return to youth shinty in the near future.
In order to gauge the suitability of a return to shinty for our clubs we conducted a survey.
Of the 26 clubs who responded there was an overwhelming desire to return to shinty when the conditions allowed it.
Some of the data behind is presented below.
“If government guidance allows contact sports in 2020 and it is safe to return – would your club wish to take part in a localised mini league competition?”
Just under 70% of clubs answered yes, with the other 30% answering maybe meaning no clubs were opposed to the plan.
“If a limited time was available, prior to the end of 2020, to return to play shinty what type of activity should be prioritised?”
96% of clubs answered that “Local Area Tournaments/Games” should be prioritised.
Based on this, and after much consideration, the Camanachd Association is, at present, preparing for the return of youth shinty training, with a desire to organise localised tournaments when it is safe to do so and in line with Scottish Government guidance and the readiness of our clubs.
Safety is, as always, paramount and at the heart of every decision we make and as such each club has been requested to complete a readiness checklist, along with a risk assessment for the return of the sport.
The Camanachd Association are working with registered clubs to prepare themselves for a return to shinty training for children and youths.
Derek Keir, Camanachd Association CEO has said:
“It is so exciting to get the go ahead for a return to children’s and youth shinty after such a long period of absence.
“We know from consultations with our clubs that this is welcome news for many communities right throughout Scotland.
“The benefits that we all feel from exercise both for our physical and mental health are clear to see and after a tumultuous 2020 this will be all the more welcome.
“We, as always, have been working in partnership with our clubs, associations and sportscotland to ensure that when a return to shinty is possible that our clubs are as informed with as much support as we are able to offer.
“This survey has made it clear that clubs want to get back to playing shinty when it is safe to do so and when they have the protocols and systems in place to mitigate risks in line with government recommendations.
“We cannot wait for the next steps to be implemented and clubs are rightly working through the guidance at a pace that is appropriate to their own capacity and resources.
“We look forward to its return in the near future.”