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New Highland Folk Museum virtual tour launches

The fourth location to be revealed in the series of virtual tours at the Highland Folk Museum is the Boleskine shinty pavilion.

Visitors to www.highlandfolk.com/explore will be able to explore the pavilion from Tuesday (February 15), with images, text, video and audio all bringing the story of shinty to life.

Project Officer Helen Pickles said: “Shinty players, veterans and supporters are spread far and wide across the globe and they aren’t all within physical reach of the museum, so being able to share the shinty pavilion and our collection online is a real advantage.

“The digital tour tells the tale of the building itself, from the shrapnel damage sustained in World War II that is still visible today, to shared memories of the older folk gathered around the fireplace on match days in the cold winter months, taking a wee dram.

The tour also reveals stories of shinty past and present, through some of the objects from the Highland Folk Museum collection.

“The collections include the velvet memorial cap of William MacGillivray, the captain of Kingussie Camanachd Club who was tragically killed in WW1, and ball-making parts and equipment from John Macpherson of Inverness, one of the last makers in Scotland of the leather balls.”

The Boleskine shinty pavilion was originally located in Foyers, a village on the south shore of Loch Ness. It was built in 1930 as a sports pavilion for the workers of British Aluminium.

The pavilion and the factory field on which it was located was used for cricket, football and other  sports, and also to host social events and community gatherings, but most of all it was used for shinty.

The local clubs of Foyers and Stratherrick played here, then later when the clubs merged, the pavilion became the home of the newly formed Boleskine Shinty Club.

The factory closed in the 1960s, but the pavilion and sports ground continued to be used regularly until the 1990s. However, by 2012, the building was threatened with demolition.

Luckily it was saved from this fate by a number of concerned parties. The pavilion was dismantled, transported and rebuilt in the centre of the Highland Folk Museum site, and opened in 2013.

Helen added: “Those familiar to shinty will spot some well-known faces. We have produced a short film to go with the tour, and asked along some local characters to tell us about what shinty means to them.

“Newtonmore brothers Rob and Dave ‘Tarzan’ Ritchie feature in the film, as do Kingussie High School Shinty Ambassadors Iain Fraser and Rasmus Cheyne. As might be expected, there’s a mention or two in there of the traditional rivalry between Newtonmore and Kingussie.”

The Boleskine Shinty Pavilion will be available for visitors to experience in person when the museum opens on April 1.

Visit www.highlandfolk.com/explore to discover the four digital tours released so far – the Blackhouse, Knockbain School, The Travellers’ Summer Encampment, and the Shinty Pavilion.

The final virtual tour will be revealed on Tuesday, February 22.