Association and uni join forces to save craft of shinty stick-making

The Camanachd Association and Inverness College UHI will make sure camans are 'plentiful and affordable'.

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Shinty has found a new teammate in a quest to secure production of camans, the sticks used to play the sport.

Its governing body has joined forces with Inverness College UHI.

The partners have begun building a cooperative to ensure caman production is plentiful and affordable in future, after a period of rising costs and shortage of makers.

The sticks are currently made by an elite number of independent carpenters. Production has been identified as a critically endangered craft.

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The Camanachd Association and the college aim to engender “modern business processes” in a five-month initiative, backed by public funding, to encourage collaborations between organisations, businesses and academia.

Sport: Caman-making is a critically endangered craft.STV News
Sport: Caman-making is a critically endangered craft.

Business and management lecturer David Jack, who is leading the project, said: “Shinty is one of Scotland’s most ancient and historically significant sports and camans are a vital part of the game.

“As caman-making is a critically endangered craft, the association are looking for innovative ways to make the manufacturing process more sustainable.

“Our main goal will be to support caman-makers to work together so they can share expertise, ideas and realise the benefits of greater cooperation.”

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The project is part of a wider collaboration. The two organisations have signed a “memorandum of understanding” to work together to explore opportunities surrounding volunteering, work experience, education and training, coaching and community awareness.

Camanachd Association chief executive Derek Keir said: “This project is a fantastic example of our partnership plans with the UHI and highlights the benefits of partnership working to grow the support network for shinty and our respective communities.

“Shinty is the cornerstone of many Highland communities. The support project is just one way that our communities are going to be able to reap the benefits of our new academic partnership with the university.

“We also hope to progress work to include further exchange of expertise as well as a greater connection to teacher training in the Highlands and Islands.”