Mount Stuart Trust gifts ownership of playing pitches to the Bute Shinty and Amateur Athletic Club

Today Saturday 30th October sees the official handover of the ownership of the Meadows playing fields to the Bute Shinty and Amateur Athletic Club from the Mount Stuart Trust. Following a donation of the land from the Mount Stuart Trust, the club took ownership earlier this year. Today a short ceremony to mark the occasion is taking place to coincide with an end of season friendly against local rivals Colglen. It follows an existing leasing agreement in a three way partnership with Argyll and Bute Council.

The proposal to transfer ownership stemmed from negotiations on the renewal of the ground lease from Mount Stuart Trust to the club when both parties agreed that the best way forward would be to transfer ownership. Mount Stuart Trust generously offered to do so at no cost and also included the wider Meadows area subject to the ongoing tenancy of Argyll and Bute Council. The club currently boasts one of the best clubhouse facilities in the sport and this new ownership of the pitches and surrounding land will allow the club to further  develop its ambitions for this important community resource for the whole island.

Speaking ahead of the handover Sophie Crichton-Stuart of the Mount Stuart Trust said:

“Working closely with the team at The Isle of Bute Shinty Club we are delighted to be able to officially mark the handover of ownership of the playing pitches. Recognising the importance of the role of shinity and the club in island life and acknowledging the facilities as an invaluable resource for the wider community, it gives me great pleasure to know that this new ownership will allow the club to realise its ambitions for the Meadows and I look forward to visiting for a Shinty match or other future events.”

The Bute Shinty and Amateur Athletic Club Chairman Barry Martin said: “This gift of the Meadows pitches will have a huge impact for the Isle of Bute Shinty Club. We are very much a community club with our clubhouse used for a huge range of events, with everything from Yoga Classes to Irish Dancing, weddings and funerals taking place here. Many will also be aware of the key role the club plays in hosting the annual Agricultural show and Highland Games and this transfer of ownership will allow us to move on and start to plan a much needed storage facility for the Agricultural Society/Highland Games.

Throughout the process the club is very grateful for the very generous support and advice provided by Elaine Campbell of Wm. Skelton and Co, Solicitors, which made the process very straightforward for us. In marking the handover today we are also taking the opportunity to recognise the many years of service of volunteer Margaret Whitelaw whose post match catering has fed many a team and its supporters over the years.”

History of Shinty on Bute

Shinty has always been a feature on Bute even prior to the formation of any club sides on the island with the famous Buteman Cup being competed for since 1900. With guidance & support from the Marquess of Bute and Sir Colin MacRae, Bute Camanachd was formed in September 1907 as the first constituted club on the island with North Bute formed a short time afterwards. Early games involved friendlies and local cup competitions and by 1910 Kingarth Shinty club had also been formed.

In the 1920s & 30s only a strong North Bute side took the field combining the best players on the island and competed in the first Sutherland Cup final in 1923 against Newtonmore, losing by the odd goal in 5.

Following WW2 Bute Shinty Club was reconstituted and has remained the only island team ever since. The club has saw many notable victories over the years namely in the Sutherland Cup in 1972 and the Balliemore Cup on 5 occasions. Promotion to the top tier of shinty, the Premier league, was secured for the 2007 season 100 years after the first club had been formed on the island.

The club currently has 1st & 2nd teams in men’s shinty, a burgeoning Ladies section and youth teams from primary up to u14 level.  

Mount Stuart Trust

Connecting people, art, land and learning, The Mount Stuart Trust is a Charitable Trust founded in 1985, which works to fulfil the vision of the late John, Marquess of Bute (1933-1993). He believed that the public should be able to enjoy Mount Stuart and its gardens and surrounding landscape, and benefit from its collections and archives.

The Trust owns and administers Mount Stuart and Bute Estate. The aims of the Trust are to conserve, preserve and maintain the house, gardens and surrounding landscape for future generations, whilst facilitating public interest, understanding and appreciation of fine and decorative art, architecture and the rural environment, and to promote access, education and research.

Registered Scottish Charity number: SC009584.