Badenoch Shinty Memories Group (BSMG) has completed work on an environmental improvement scheme which will be used at local shinty venues to enhance the settings and also provide talking points for the work being done in the five areas in which they operate – Dalwhinnie, Laggan, Newtonmore, Kingussie, and Kincraig

The BSMG operating area has a number of current and historical shinty sites set in some of the most scenically attractive locations in Badenoch. With support from the Cairngorms Trust, BSMG recently completed the first phase of the project, planting open groves of native broadleaves in mixture with native scots pine trees. The areas also include some rowan and birch trees in a nod to the past, when camans were cut from local trees.

The planted areas are at Kincraig shinty pitch, the Dell Kingussie, the Eilean Newtonmore, Laggan and Dalwhinnie, and BSMG has been working with the local shinty clubs and appropriate other organisations to complete the project.

Plaques with English and Gaelic wording have now been added at the various locations explaining that the trees have been planted to mark the impact on the area of the COVID pandemic and in particular the families affected throughout one of the most challenging periods in the area since the War.

John MacKenzie MBE, Chair of BSMG said, “We felt it most important that we should mark the significant impact COVID had on this area in a permanent way and we wished to have something which would contribute to the Green Recovery Fund’s Principles by strengthening the natural and social capital of the Cairngorm National Park, contributing to the outcomes of the National Park Partnership Plan. We have for some time been working in partnership with other groups to deliver the projects, focused on green recovery, well-being and economic growth and have been making a contribution to local employment and an impact for the National Park. The trees clearly also enhance the viewing experience at the main shinty venues, whilst have the potential to improve the social, emotional, educational, psychological and physical wellbeing of individuals we help look after. We will be making full use of them as the weather improves over the summer. We are extremely grateful to the Cairngorms Trust for all their help and I would add my personal thanks to the Group members who helped bring the whole project to fruition, particularly Alastair Macleod of Kincraig whose expertise in forestry was invaluable.”

The saplings were planted by Gordon Kennedy & Son Newtonmore and the plantations can be viewed at the various locations with the assistance of local shinty clubs and community groups.