On Friday 30th June 2023 53 young ladies made their way from various points all over Scotland to Kilgraston School in Perthshire for the annual Residential Shinty Camp.

All the girls came together in the common room to start the weekend and were given their camp tshirt, a briefing about the weekends schedule and plan in case of an emergency  and then a tour of the facility.

Friday night team building started off really well, we opted for the games hall for the first part of activities due to the persistent rain outside, the girls were split into groups and given different challenges to consider using various forms of communication. The groups were mixed so everyone could get to know players from other clubs.

Next on the agenda was some basketball and ‘Just Dance’ however our plans were stopped by the fire alarm, this wasn’t a drill and the coaches then led all of the girls to the planned meeting point discussed in the briefing earlier. Luckily no one was hurt and the alarm was caused by the other group at the school having a smoke machine at their disco (doh). While we were outside (for around an hour) the girls were split into various groups and played some ice breaker games until the arrival of 3 fire engines distracted us all! By this time it was nearly 9pm and the girls were give the rest of the night to chill out.

Saturday morning brought lots of smiley and only a few tired faces. A full day’s shinty was planned with defensive drills in the morning followed by lunch and some hitting practice, working on forehand and backhand hitting as well as half swings (much to the dismay of many). The girls were putting in fantastic effort in the afternoon sun with lots taking on board feedback and applying it to the drills they were working on. A break in the afternoon allowed those who wanted to head to the swimming pool for a dip and for those who didn’t fancy swimming (or mostly drying their hair afterwards) some well deserved chill out time. Before dinner Coach Niamh took the girls though a chat around Mental Health, a very import topic for us all to discuss and a lot of the chat was taken on board by the girls. The Kilgraston staff treated all the girls and coaches to a fantastic BBQ for our dinner, pulling out all the stops with some ice cream for dessert. The girls also took this opportunity to play a little tennis on the courts which the school made available.  After a fantastic BBQ dinner the girls headed back outside for the evening 6 aside tournament.

Split into teams some fantastic matches took place over 2 pitches with Dublin taking the victory and bragging rights for the evening. The girls then had a couple of hours chill time where they used the common area facilities to relax after a full on day.

Day 3 brought some forward related drills in the morning and also two new guest coaches in the form of  CA Development Officers Roddy Young and Will Cowie which was fantastic given they are both premier league forwards. The girls rotated around 4  stations all working on full and half swings and movement on the forward line. After lunch  there were some 12 aside games to be played. Coaches were just as competitive as the players for this part of the camp with each coach being allocated a team to look after the competition was close between each group. The ‘pinks’ managed by Alaina and Kate were given an inspirational half time talk which saw them overturn a 2 goal deficit to win their game against the ‘blues’ 3-2 and also the tournament.

Parents were welcomed to attend to watch the games and also be present for the final prizegiving. The weekends awards were given to;

6 aside winners; Dublin

10 aside winners; Team Pink

Most Endeavour Award; Eva MacDonald (Lochaber)

Most Improved: Erin Maclean (Glengarry)

Player of the Camp: Rowan Cooper (Aberdour)

A huge thanks go to the group of thoroughly amazing volunteer coaches, without who the weekend would not have been a success; Niamh Donnelly, Caitlin Mutch, Laura McCafferty and Kate Bradly, as well as CA Development Officers Alaina MacLennan, Roddy Young, Will Cowie and Katie Drain.  Thanks also go to MOWI whose generous funding also goes towards subsidising the WCA Camp.