Get Inspired: How to get into Shinty

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Join the 'shinty community'
Fast Answers
Why get into shinty?Shinty is a fast-paced and physically demanding sport, as well as a great opportunity to make new friends.
Who is it for?Whatever age, ability or level of fitness, anyone can get involved in shinty.
Is there a cheap option?Most clubs and schools nowadays have equipment so all you need to do it turn up with a pair of boots - or a sturdy pair of trainers.
What if I want a proper workout?Play a full match! The shinty playing field is 140-170 yards long - so running up and down it for 90 minutes is quite the workout.
Can I take it to another level?Although there are more established shinty clubs in the Scottish Highlands, they've now spread to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Oxford, Cornwall and even London.
Is there a disability option?The Camanachd Association has run a disability programme for over a decade.
Is there a family option?From playing the game to getting involved in the volunteering side of the sport, all members of the family would are welcome in shinty.
So where can I start?Go to our Activity Finder to get into shinty near you.

The sport of choice for many residents of the Scottish Highlands, shinty may be unfamiliar to many, but that's no reason not to give it a try!

With 12 players per team and the use of a curved stick called a caman, 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 the net (or 'hail') at the end of the field.

Unlike hurling, 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.

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.

Women's shinty

Helen MacLennan, shinty coach
Helen MacLennan is a youth shinty coach, and carried the Commonwealth torch ahead of Glasgow 2014

Shinty is an amateur sport and it's open for anybody to play. A young lady played for a Premier League team for the first time in 2016.

There are still specific women's competitions and activities in place. The Women's Camanachd Association has lots of information on how to get started. You can also read about the four leagues within the women's game.

Shinty for kids and those with disabilities

Children playing first shinty
Children playing first shinty

Primary school kids can start in the sport with a very simple game called First Shinty, played with plastic sticks with rubber heads and foam balls. This allows them to learn the key skills of the game.

All of the formal shinty clubs have junior sections and are always looking to run introductory sessions alongside schools. Get in touch with your nearest club to find out more.

Working with schools and local clubs, The Camanachd Association has run a disability programme for over a decade.

Each year there is a national festival in Aviemore (in the Scottish highlands) where around 70 young people take part in First Shinty.

Read here for a full list of The Camanachd Association's full equality policies.

Coaching and volunteering

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Hockey star turns hand to shinty

The Camanachd Association offer coaching qualifications and opportunities for people to enhance their skills and knowledge of the sport. They also hold regular workshops for people to develop their coaching.

You will find all the information you need on The Camanachd Association website - and you can also try Sports Coach UK.

They are also always looking for people to get involved in the officiating side of the sport, and offer formal training and development opportunities for people looking to get involved.

What's next?

1. Go to our Activity Finder to get into shinty near you.

2. Find your local club here.

3. Share your story and inspire others.

Are you inspired to try shinty? Or maybe you are a keen enthusiast already? Get in touch and tell us your story by tweeting us on @bbcgetinspired, visit us on Facebook or email us on

See our full list of activity guides for more inspiration.