Get Inspired: How to get into Shinty

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Hockey star turns hand to shinty

Shinty is the sport of choice for many residents of the Scottish Highlands.

With 12 players per team and the use of a curved stick called a caman, the game bears some resemblance to field hockey - and also helped to inspire the invention of modern ice hockey.

The idea is to hit a small baseball-like ball along the ground or through the air, using either side of the stick, until you score a goal in a net (or 'hail') at the end of the field.

Unlike hurling, another sport with which shinty shares some history and similarities, you cannot catch the ball in shinty - or use your hands in any way, unless you are the goalkeeper.

Why is it good for you?

Shinty is fast and physical, but if you are starting out then easier forms of the game exist to teach you the skills involved - dexterity with the stick, quick reactions and spatial awareness are all important qualities you will develop playing the game.

Get involved

Olympic torch and shinty players
In 2012, the Olympic torch received a guard of honour from shinty players in Stornoway.

The Camanachd Association - shinty's world governing body - runs, which contains a guide to becoming a player as well as a list of club contacts in the UK.

The English Shinty Association runs a Facebook page dedicated to developing the game in England.


Traced back thousands of years alongside sister sport hurling, shinty is also considered one of the forefathers of ice hockey, having been imported to Canada by Scottish immigrants in the 19th Century.

The Camanachd Association first met in 1893 in the small town of Kingussie, which would go on to host one of the greatest sports teams of all time in terms of results - Kingussie Camanachd, famously, won 20 consecutive league titles and spent four years unbeaten in the 1990s.

Are you inspired to try Shinty? Or maybe you are a keen enthusiast already? Get in touch and tell us your experience of the game by tweeting us on @bbcgetinspired or email us on

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