The Giants of Shinty
There are records of the game of shinty having been played on the Eilean Bheannchair (the Eilan) since 1877, though some form of the game will undoubtedly have been played between the townships long before that.
The record of Newtonmore’s shinty team through time is second to none – the Camanachd Cup (the championship of Scotland) has been Newtonmore’s no less than 28 times in a hundred years, whilst the MacTavish Cup has been won an astonishing 30 times in the same period, including every year from 1970 to 1980.
The Newtonmore Roll of Honour includes many who are rightly regarded as giants in the game – indeed, there are too many to mention, but the greatest period of domination by Newtonmore was in the seventies and eighties, when the great David ‘Tarzan’ Ritchie and Hugh Chisholm – arguably shinty’s greatest ever goal keeper – each gained 12 Camanachd Cup Winners Medals – though there are others in Newtonmore who have notched up 10 or even 11 each.
Also playing at that time were brothers John and George Fraser and the current Camanachd Association North Area President, John Mackenzie. Around this time, Club Chieftain was the equally legendary Jock Paul MacIntosh, who was the driving force within the Club throughout the post-war years.
Going back further in time, in the period between the wars, such men as Jim Guthrie, Andrew Budge, along with a host of Macphersons, Rosses and Cattanachs became respected throughout the shinty world, whilst Dr. John Cattanach, who was killed in action in the Great War stands out from the period after the turn of the century. In 2003 Dr John Cattanach was remembered with a permanent place in history as the only shinty player to gain a place in the Scottish Sporting Hall of Fame.