Shinty prepares to spread its wings beyond the Highlands

1st May 2009 at 01:00

A Yorkshireman is spearheading the introduction of the traditional Scottish sport of shinty into Aberdeenshire primary schools.

Nearly 200 children from three primaries in the Stonehaven area have been given taster workshops and teachers at 11 schools have had continuing professional development courses to enable them to help cultivate the sport.

John Rotherey, an Active Schools primary co-ordinator, originally from Halifax, is leading the initiative with support from sportscotland's youth development manager for shinty, Garry Reid, who ran the training sessions.

There is only one shinty club in the north east of Scotland, so the plan is to train players from the Aberdeen University team to help coach more children at after-school clubs.

The depute head at Arduthie Primary, Christeen Saward, suggested including an inter-schools shinty festival during Homecoming 2009 activities.

After the training workshops, Mr Rotherey said: "The children absolutely loved it and what we found was that the kids who were normally very sporty were not necessarily very good at it. It was the other kids, like girls and different abilities, who picked it up very quickly because it's such an unusual game."

Garry Reid has played shinty since he was in P5 at Teanassie Primary, near Inverness, in the late 1970s and plays for Strathglass. "Shinty has to spread its wings a wee bit out of the Highlands and Argyll and Bute and into the populated area of the Central Belt and Aberdeenshire. There are pockets of shinty in central Scotland," he said.

"There's a great history to the sport and it's good for children's hand- eye co-ordination. The class teachers who went on the CPD course are quite keen to take the children as part of their two hours of PE in the week."

Sports results 31.

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