Re-Enactment Match

19th May 2013

In keeping with the match in 1889 the teams played 16 a side. Newtonmore and Kingussie players combined for the Badenoch side with Lochaber providing the Brae Lochaber opposition. The players were dressed in period uniforms, as strips were originally called.

Invitation to shinty
The old game had certain rituals. This match started with an invitation to shinty, an ancient tradition which has come down to us as a children’s rhyme and. Originally this would have been recited in Gaelic and on this occasion the Newtonmore Gaelic stream pupils recited a special version in both English and Gaelic.
Come to shinty                    What shinty?
Shinty of clubs                    What Clubs?
A caman of yew                  What yew?
Yew of air                           What air?
Air of bird                           What bird?
Bird on wing                       What wing?
Wing of raven                     What raven?
Raven of flesh                     What flesh?
Flesh of men                       What men?
Holy men                            What holiness?
Holiness of horse                 What horse?
Horse of water                    What water?
Water of hill                        What hill?
Newtonmore, Kingussie and Brae Lochaber

Captains named their sides
One captain throws his caman to the other, who catches it with one hand. Then they go hand over hand to the top of the caman and the captain with his hand at the top of the stick has first choice of men. This method was used to revive the tradition and to allow us to introduce the players to the crowd.

Referee proclaims the rules
The referees for the re-enactment match were John Sloggie of Invergarry and Ronald ‘’Smurdy’’ Kennedy of Newtonmore. Rules were traditionally proclaimed before the game and John Sloggie proclaimed the rules and standards of conduct expected by the players. No offside rule was played in this game. Rolling substitutes were permitted in accordance with the old practice of players having a rest every so often.

Half time
Children from the Gaelic medium unit took out the traditional refreshments of oranges and raisins.
Many of the matches at this time were sponsored by landowners or hotel owners. However on this occasion we revived another tradition by the children taking a collection on an old blanket.

Book launch
The match saw the launch of the book ‘’The caman is their past time from the cradle to their graves: shinty in Badenoch and Strathspey 1747 – 1939’’ which is available to purchase on this website. The book includes a CD of poetry music and song ‘’The Land were Shinty is King’’ specially commissioned for the project. It includes the oldest known poetry, songs and bagpipe tunes as well as readings by the winners of a 2012 schools poetry competition.

Crowd hospitality

Sponsorship traditionally extended to providing sustenance for the crowd. Throughout this match the crowd were able to enjoy bread, cheese and oatcakes which was what would have been on offer in 1889. There was also complimentary tea, coffee and orange juice.

After the match
A barrel of whisky was presented to the winning Brae Lochaber team who triumphed 4 – 1. In accordance with tradition the whisky was shared not only with the two teams, but the crowd as well. The specially commissioned whisky barrel is now in the Boleskine Shinty Pavilion at the Highland Folk museum where there is a permanent exhibition on shinty in Badenoch and Strathspey


shinty history project brief

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