Europe

GAA football washes up on island of North Uist, Scotland

Arthur Heyes with GAA ball Image copyright Arthur Heyes
Image caption Mr Heyes said the ball was in 'perfect condition'

A football used by a Gaelic Athletic Association team in Ireland has been found washed up on a Scottish beach in the Outer Hebrides.

The missing ball, which belongs to Dungloe Ladies GAA team in Donegal, was found by beach walker Arthur Heyes.

It was swept several hundred miles north by the Atlantic current, surviving its journey in good nick.

Mr Heyes has now emailed the club to try to reunite the team with the ball.

"Its been two or three hundred miles in the open Atlantic and yet it's in perfect condition," he told BBC Radio Foyle.

Mr Heyes and his brother were enjoying a walk along the western tip of North Uist when they noticed something white poking out of the sand.

"It's a beautiful island with lovely beaches and I noticed a ball which appeared to have been washed up.

"The thing I noticed first of all was the quality of the ball, it was perfectly inflated," said Mr Heyes.

Image copyright Dungloe GAA
Image caption The team hope their ball makes it home safely

"I had a look at it and I saw the words Dungloe Ladies GAA and that stuck in my mind because I remember going on holiday to Dungloe when I was a child.

"In the back of my mind I thought, GAA... I think that stands for Gaelic Athletic Association," he added.

'Honorary member'

Mr Heyes said it was his brother's idea to try to get in touch with the Donegal club.

"I sent them an email and they got back to me asking for a picture and I got my daughter to take it with me showing a map to demonstrate how far it came," he said.

"I've been in touch with the club and one way or another I will return this ball to the club because that's its home and that's where it belongs."

Image copyright Google
Image caption North Uist is covered in sandy beaches and rock pools

Dungloe Ladies GAA team told the BBC they were "delighted" to find their football, which has been missing since 5 May.

"It is quite a surreal and unique story. Once a ball ends up in the sea, you don't expect it to make a journey and for the writing to remain intact," the club said.

"We would welcome Arthur to come and visit us, as he is now an honorary member of Dungloe Ladies GAA.

"We are going to get the ball returned and hopefully we will play a game with it this summer."

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