Shinty Calendar Girls (posted 16th September 2006) And so to the Camanachd Cup shinty final, for the first time held in Dunoon, an impressive event and one which reverses the traditional Scottish sports ritual by starting the game with a Throw Up rather than finishing the day with one. Observed the unsinkable Hugh Dan (the PR Man) MacLennan circumlocuting the pitch, resplendent in full Highland dress and sailing past a quorum of town councillors let out for the day. Few there would know that not only is Hugh Dan the public face of CalMac (see Ferries pages here), he was also in a previous incarnation the shinty correspondent of the P and J. The man is peripatetic and omniprescent.
On the pitch, one player lost his head and the bulk of the others appeared in regular danger of losing arms and legs. But there seemed to be no rules. So I've just Googled for shinty rules and got on the first page the Shinty Website bibliography which immediately said "We are grateful to Dr Hugh Dan MacLennan for the information on this page" - I told you! But I could find no rules on the website. On the next page of Google I found Shinty's Place and Space in World Sport by - yes, guess who? Hugh Dan promises rules and they are there, all 300 or so words of them. But apart from "scoring is by goals", it is all about equipment. The last words are "A player whose caman (stick) is broken during a game may play the ball before obtaining a replacement caman, providing the broken caman is not deemed dangerous to himself or another player" - it sort of gives you the flavour of the thing. You can see modern shinty players muttering "Bloody Health and Safety - do we have to have that last bit in?"
Bumped into Sophie from our village at the game, a leading force with the local women's shinty team and she booked me a copy of their forthcoming Shinty Calendar Girls 2007. We agreed I could promote it on this website, so watch this space, I'll see if I get some sample months on here as a promo. Makes a change from bloody ferries.
My son and I really enjoyed the game which Kingussie deservedly won 4-2 after a strong start by Fort William. The captain of Kingussie, John Gibson, received the cup 110 years after the brother of his great grandfather won a medal in the first Camanachd Cup final in 1896. How do I know this? Because the skipper's dad was standing next to me watching the presentation and proudly showed me the 1896 medal he had brought along for luck. Now that is both history and tradition .
(Codicil added 20th September): the uncanny thing was that Hugh Dan knew about my blog posting before he left the hospitality tent. Does that say more about efficiency of the CalMac/Shinty suveilleance operation or the length of post-shinty hospitality? All is revealed in Mike Russel'ls erudite blog on the Camanachd Cup (Mike and Hugh Dan were with the favoured few in the hospitality area while my son and I were grubbing along with the hoi polloi). You can see me with my son and John Gibson's dad on Mike's picture, if you know what to look for