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Camanachd Association's delight at news of funding boost for Bught Park redevelopment including a potential shinty museum

By Alasdair Fraser

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Bught Park in Inverness
Bught Park in Inverness

Shinty's governing body is welcoming the UK Government's announcement that Bught Park will share in a £20 million Levelling Up Fund boost for Inverness.

The Highland Council-owned sports pitches and stadium complex will join Northern Meeting Park and the Inverness Castle project in receiving funding.

The Camanachd Association has acted as lead user organisation in moves to upgrade Bught Park, shinty’s national base, and hopes to create a shinty museum as part of the redevelopment.

A Bught Park Partnership Working Group involving Highland Council and Highlife Highland commissioned a feasibility study, part-funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, to support the Levelling Up Funding application this year.

The funding will go to Inverness Zero Carbon Cultural Regeneration – the umbrella term for the redevelopment of Inverness Castle, the Northern Meeting Park and the Bught Park stadium complex.

The criteria to qualify for the funding was regenerating cultural assets, improving the local economy and net zero ambitions.

Northern Meeting Park and Bught Park will see the creation of an energy centre utilising a ground source heat ambient loop.

This will potentially provide heat energy for adjacent properties of Eden Court, Inverness Cathedral and Highland Council headquarters.

Women's Mod Shinty Cup action at Bught Park this year.
Women's Mod Shinty Cup action at Bught Park this year.

As well as being a major sports and leisure facilities complex in Inverness, the Bught is also the principal venue for commercially-driven outdoor concerts and major events in the city.

The culture element will see the redevelopment of the city’s historic home of shinty through a refurbished grandstand, a new interactive museum of shinty and additional event infrastructure to facilitate more large-scale outdoor events.

The aim is to increase the range and number of annual major events in the city.

Camanachd Association president Steven Mackenzie said: “The Camanachd Association looks forward to hearing more detail on how this funding will improve facilities at the Bught Park.

“I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all parties involved in this successful funding application but particularly the Camanachd Association director and staff who have worked closely with Inverness Shinty Club to ensure shinty was an integral part of the funding bid.”

Derek Keir, the Camanachd Association’s chief executive officer, said: “The Camanachd Association was instrumental in bringing together a number of partners who shared in our vision for a Bught Park that could excite people and become an iconic and modern home to community sport and shinty.

Inverness Shinty Club in Bught Park. Picture: James Mackenzie
Inverness Shinty Club in Bught Park. Picture: James Mackenzie

“The news of the levelling up fund is a true testament to the power of working in partnership and we look forward to playing a key role in supporting the next steps as plans for the Bught Park progress.

“I would like to pay particular tribute to our team at the Camanachd Association who have played a crucial role in these developments so far, to inverness Shinty Club for their continued work in the community and to our partners at Highlife Highland, Highland Council and HIE who all played a crucial role, we are very much excited about the next steps”

John Finlayson, Camanachd Association Director & Highland Councillor said:

“I am delighted to hear such positive news for Inverness, the Highlands and the game of Shinty and again the success of this bid shows the importance of partnership working between public bodies, sporting organisations and communities. I am sure everyone across the Highlands and within the game of Shinty nationally, are excited by the prospect of upgraded facilities at the Bught Park which will help sustain and develop our sport in the years ahead.”

Drew McNeil, Inverness Shinty Club’s development director, said: “Highland Council’s successful bid to the UK government’s levelling up fund is the culmination of great work.

“If the river Ness is the life blood of the city, then the Bught green space area is its lungs.

“This funding has the potential to transform these two areas for everyone to enjoy, even more.”

Highland Council leader, Cllr Margaret Davidson, added: “We look forward to working with the Camanachd Association and the local community and other stakeholders on the development of this great project at the Bught.”

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