Shinty, also known as camanachd, or iomain, is a team sport played with sticks and a ball. Now played almost exclusively in the Scottish Highlands, but formerly more widespread, the sport was derived from the same root as the Irish game, hurling and is similar to bandy. Shinty also is the forebearer of ice hockey, Scots immigrants to Nova Scotia playing a game on ice in 1800 at Windsor. In Canada, informal hockey games are still called shinny.

In the Lowlands, it was formerly referred to as common/cammon (caman), cammock (from Scots Gaelic camag), knotty and various other names.


The objective of the game is to play a small ball into a goal, or hail, erected at the ends of a 120 to 160-yard-long pitch. The ball is played using the caman, a stick of about 3 1/2 ft in length. Unlike the hurling caman, it has no blade.

A team consists of 12 players, with one goalkeeper. A match is played over two halves of 45 minutes. With the exception of the keeper, no player is allowed to play the ball with his hands.


Gaelic settlers from Ireland brought the sport of hurling to Scotland, where the game was played as such until the 14th century, albeit with a different caman from the Irish one.

The modern sport is governed by the Camanachd Association (Comunn na Camanachd). Senior clubs include:

  • Aberdeen University
  • Aberdour
  • Ballachulish
  • Beauly
  • Boleskine
  • Bute
  • Caberfeidh
  • Edinburgh University
  • Edinburgh East Lothian
  • Fort William
  • Glasgow Mid Argyll
  • Glasgow University Shinty Club
  • Glengarry
  • Glenorchy
  • Glenurquhart
  • The Highlanders (army)
  • Inveraray
  • Inverness
  • Kilmallie
  • Kilmory
  • Kincraig
  • Kingussie
  • Kinlochshiel
  • Kintyre
  • Kyles athletic
  • Lochaber Camanachd
  • Lochcarron
  • London Camanachd
  • Lovat
  • Newtonmore
  • Oban Camanachd
  • Oban Celtic
  • Robert Gordon's University
  • Skye Camanachd
  • St Andrews University
  • Strachur
  • Strahclyde University
  • Strathglass

Ladies Shinty

  • Aberdeen University
  • Dunadd
  • Edinburgh University
  • Glasgow Mid Argyll
  • Glengarry
  • Inverary
  • St Andrews University
  • Tir Connaill Harps

These clubs compete in various competitions, both cup and league, on a national and also North/South basis. Whilst the top two leagues are played on a national basis, the premier competition is the Scottish Cup or the Camanachd Association Challenge Cup, (the Camanachd Cup for short) which has been totally dominated by Kingussie in the last twenty years. The other dominant team in Shinty history has been Newtonmore, Kingussie's near neighbours. Strangely these two teams only met in the Camanachd Cup Final for the first time in 1984. The 2004 Final was a rare occasion without Kingussie or Newtonmore and a fine game was had between Inverary and Fort William, Inverary winning 1-0.

Predominantly a Highland game, there are also clubs to found in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and even London. University Shinty is also a popular section of the sport, with almost all Scotland's main universities possessing a team. Historically, Glasgow University and Edinburgh University have vied for supremacy but in recent years, Robert Gordons University and the combined Dundee Universities have risen to prominence in the inter-varsity competition, the Littlejohn Vase.

In recognition of Shinty's shared roots with hurling, an annual international between the two codes from Scotland and Ireland is played on a home and away basis using compromise rules. In recent years the Irish have had the upper hand but the Scots have also had their share of success.

Shinty is also spreading to North America. Two teams, Northern California Camanachd and San Luis Obispo Shinty Club, play regularly on the Highland Games circuit in California. However, as of yet, there has not been a Scotland v USA international.

External links

gd: Camanachd


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