The first flood-lit shinty pitch in the world is going to be in Fort William, the Camanachd Association confirmed last night.
The £200,000 pitch will be the second playing area for the up-and-coming Mowi league team, who have had to upgrade facilities due to a rising demand for the sport from youngsters and women.
The senior pitch at An Aird was becoming overused with training on the ground every night, so the team of volunteers who manage the club decided to up their game by delivering a second, slightly smaller pitch.
Construction is already under way, and seeding of the grass will happen when the team “get a few dry days” to get the job done, before opening to players in 2020.
Managing director of Fort William Shinty Club, Richard Gall said: “The pitch is going to be flood lit, the first in shinty history.
“The pitch is costing £200,000 paid for by a grant from LEADER and Sports Scotland, as well as other fundraising.
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“The interest in shinty in Fort William is superb. We have a senior team, a second senior team, an under 17 team, an under 14s team, a ladies team and a women’s development team, and we also have a primary school-aged training night where more than 30 kids come along to train for the game.
“It was all too much for our main pitch, it was being overused, so we have taken land adjacent to the club and thanks to the funding we have received we are constructing the second pitch.
“Now that we have taken on the lease from Highland Council for the pitch, we have been able to develop around the area.”
The smaller pitch will used for training and some matches.
This year will also see the Fort William club host the Camanachd Cup – a premier trophy in the shinty calendar.
Graham Cormack, from the Camanachd Association praised the forward-looking attitude of the Fort William team: “Fort William has been at the forefront of embracing challenges and changes in the game – and it is really paying off for them. They will have the first flood -lit pitch in Scotland.
“A few weeks ago they were the first club to achieve the gold standard in the Club Mark Scheme – this has also been helpful in showing their credibility to funders such as Sport’s Scotland.