Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Kirkwall Ba’ cancelled as organisers try to protect wider community from Covid

Post Thumbnail

An ancient island mass street match – first thought to have been played by Viking invaders – has been cancelled for the second year running due to Covid.

Organisers have called off the Kirkwall Ba’ amid the growing concern about Omicron.

The game, which was scheduled for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, is a battle between two teams – the Uppies and the Doonies – to get a handmade leather ball to their respective goals at either end of the town.

The only other times it has been cancelled was during World War I and II.

In a statement, the Ba’ committee said it had not been an “easy decision”, but they had to protect the wider community.

The Kirkwall Ba’ Committee has decided not to continue with preparations for this season’s games,” they said.

“The committee and players had hoped that the games would go ahead under Covid guidelines previously in place involving self-testing and vaccination for outdoor activities.

“The Scottish Government guidance effective from December 11 introduced a change in household self-isolation and close contacts. This change means that in the event of a single household member testing positive, all household members should isolate for 10 days irrespective of their vaccination status or negative PCR test result.

‘The Ba’ remains an integral part of Kirkwall’s traditions’

“This could create potentially difficult consequences for individuals, families, businesses and members of emergency services. The implications for our community under these circumstances have to be taken into consideration when deciding whether to continue with this years’ games.

“The Ba’ remains an integral part of Kirkwall’s traditions and heritage and its long term future must be protected and ensured. We thank all the members of the community who have demonstrated support throughout the last two years and we will continue to work to ensure next year’s games can be played.”

The game has its origins in the Norse era and has been held in its present form since around 1850.

The Kirkwall Ba’ game has been played on the streets of the town for hundreds of years.

Around 300 people are involved in the mass scrum that lasts on average five hours and can attract around 1,000 spectators.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

More from the Press and Journal News team

More from the Press and Journal