Save our shinty is Inverness club's distress call who want Bught Park
INVERNESS Shinty Club wants to take ownership of Bught Park in a bid to save the sport in the city.
The club is considering a community asset transfer application to Highland Council to take over the facility, or receive an area of the park that can be a regular venue for shinty.
The plans are driven by Inverness facing nine weekends this year where they will have no access to a pitch at Bught Park to play league or cup matches.
The club runs the Inverness Shinty Academy which trains more than 400 kids at 17 primary schools in the city.
But club development officer Drew McNeil fears shinty could die in Inverness if they can’t guarantee a regular venue for games to be played.
“We have huge reservations and a real fear about the lack of provision within Inverness for shinty,” he said.
“There is only one recognised shinty pitch in Inverness. Bught Park and the green space area is under growingpressure from non-sporting activities which displaces shinty.
“We have nine dates this year where we have no access to a pitch.
“For what we have created in promoting shinty here, we need to ring fence Bught Park. If we need it first, we should get it first.”
Inverness Shinty Club has two men’s teams which play in North Division One and North Division Two. In addition, Inverness has two women’s teams, an under-17 team and two under-14 teams.
The shinty academy has 40 volunteer coaches working with schools in Inverness.
McNeil says its vital a regular venue is available for kids to carry on interest from junior to senior level.
“Most people would assume Bught Park is a ring fenced shinty facility purely because Inverness have played there since the 1920’s.
“Unfortunately that is not the case.
“To secure any form of shinty legacy, Inverness needs to pursue all avenues for the future players, the club and to retain the sport that has been turned on its head in the city.”
He added: "The question is where are these people going to play?
“Does it say to kids that our sport isn’t as important as other sports?”
A Highland Council spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the club’s aspiration to request a community asset transfer of a section of the Bught area.
“Any application would be evaluated against the current use of the area and other requests for use of the area. The council is clear the area needs to be available to the full range of sports and organisations that currently use the facilities.”