The 50th anniversary of the Shinty Forum, held in the Balavil Hotel, Newtonmore from 26 to 28 April 1974, is to be marked with an illustrated talk at the original venue. The event will also be a fund-raiser for Shinty Memories Badenoch.

The Forum, one of shinty’s most iconic and important events in the 20th century, attracted newspaper headlines such as “Making a shindy about shinty” when it eventually took place. It was first mooted in 1973 when Jack Richmond and Gabie Fraser of Newtonmore delivered a Memorandum to the Camanachd Association about a Conference “Talk-In” on Shinty.

Their wish was for “an in-depth discussion among people who really care about the present and future health of shinty.  We have asked the Newtonmore Camanachd Club if they would be willing to act as hosts for this and if they would put our proposal to your executive committee to enlist your sponsorship.”

It was agreed after considerable debate that the event would take place and invitations were issued far and wide, to particular individuals known to have influential views, as well as representatives from the Sports Council (as it then was), The Gaelic Athletic Association of Ireland, An Comunn Gàidhealach, the Highlands and Islands development Board, county councils, the press and broadcasting authorities.

An exhibition was staged about shinty with photographs, interesting press cuttings, trophies and equipment, including sticks and balls of different manufacturers, and films and colour transparencies were shown. Two women attended the meetings, Gillian Clark of Kingussie and the late Julia Macadie of Newtonmore.

A remarkable series of discussions were set up and the proceedings recorded for posterity. The talks included a discussion ranging over the organisation of the game and whether one totally embracing administrative body would be in its best interest, the arrangement of leagues and cup draws, training of referees, coaching, encouragement of young players, revision of rules, the composite shinty/hurling ones, improvement of pitches and review of the venues for finals, design and manufacture of equipment, contact with the Sports Council and other fund providing bodies, publicity through the press and other media.

Headline writers had a field day. “Danger of shinty extinction” one screamed; “Support shinty or its dead” threatened the Daily Express, whilst “Making a shindy about shinty”.

The conclusions reached at the Forum and the vigorous debate which followed led eventually to another important series of meetings and the Future of Shinty Report in 1981, setting the scene for the next quarter century or more.

Shinty historian Dr Hugh Dan MacLennan will mark the 50th anniversary of the Forum with a talk in the original venue, using some of the recordings and images from the event. He said: “There is no doubt that the Forum represents one of the most significant milestones in the history of the sport and the Camanachd Association. It looked back at “the rock from which we are hewn” and forwards to possible solutions to the many issues which were (and perhaps still are) facing the game in the 1970s. There were ructions galore at the meetings and in the aftermath and the truth of the matter is that without the Forum, and the foresight of Messrs Fraser and Richmond, we would not be where we are today. The Forum was the catalyst for many of the developments which took place in the following quarter century and there are plenty of lessons to be learned from the way it was conceived and executed.”

The talk will be held in the Balavil Hotel on Sunday April 28, 50 years to the day the original Forum finished.   It will start at 1630 and last for around two hours to enable discussion and debate.

Admission will be payment at the door (£8) and pies, tea and coffee will be provided.

It is anticipated that demand for tickets will be high and to help with the catering arrangements it would be helpful if potential attendees could secure their place by emailing confirmation asap to :

To help with the fund-raising, a raffle will be held and it would be very much appreciated if prizes could be offered.