Fort William Shinty Club

Fort William Shinty Club is a shinty club from Fort William, Lochaber, Scotland. The club has two sides in the Shinty league system, a first team which was relegated from the Premiership in 2013 and a reserve side in North Division Two. The first team were Camanachd Cup holders four times in succession, between 2007 and 2010, but were knocked out in the second round in 2011. The club also has a vibrant youth system.

Fort William
Full nameFort William Shinty Club
Gaelic nameComann Camanachd A' Ghearasdain
NicknameThe Fort
GroundAn Aird, Inverlochy, Fort William
ManagerVictor Smith / Addie Robertson [1]
LeagueNational Division
201610th (PD)
LeagueNorth Division One

The club's traditional home is in the heart of the town at An Aird which is an area often under threat from development. However, for much of 2011 and 2012 An Aird was being renovated and the club were tenants at the Black Parks in Inverlochy.


Fort William was officially constituted in 1893 but the club slowly emerged into the sport and only entered the Camanachd Cup in 1912. The club folded on occasion in the 1900s and 1920s and had very little success except a Camanachd Cup semi final in 1937 against Oban Celtic and a sprinkling of junior cups.[2]

Unfortunately for the club, the rise of Fort William as a force in shinty coincided with the 20-year dominance of Kingussie. However, the club heralded its arrival as a major force by winning the Macaulay Cup in 1991[3] and reaching the semi final of the Camanachd the same year then finally joining the ranks of clubs who have won the blue riband event in 1992, beating Kingussie 1–0 in Glasgow thanks to Deek Cameron's goal after only ten seconds, which still stands as the fastest goal in a final.

Fort continued to perform well and reached the final in 1994 where they lost to Kyles Athletic. The new millennium saw Fort William habitually come in second behind the unstoppable Kingussie team and began to be seen as the team most likely to break the Badenoch dominance.

Kingussie's Dominance BrokenEdit

The Fort reappeared in the Camanachd Cup Final in 2003 but was defeated by Kingussie 6–0 on home soil. The next in 2004 then saw the Fort go down to an unfancied Inveraray side 1–0 in Oban. When the side again reached the final in 2005 against local rivals, Kilmallie, it was seen by the wider community as case of now or never. The game, held between the two Fort William teams in the town itself, is widely regarded as the most exciting final of recent times, Fort winning with a last gasp goal to win 3–2.

Further glory was to follow the next year in 2006, when Fort William finally broke Kingussie's dominance of the league title (a World record in any sport) after a consistent level of performance throughout the year meant that Newtonmore were pipped to the title. Club captain Gordon Mackinnon one of fort williams all time consistent performers was presented with a black caman from The club for this achievement ‘Kingussie did regain a modicum of revenge by defeating the Fort comprehensively in both the MacTavish Cup (The North Senior Trophy) and the final of the Camanachd Cup in Dunoon.

Four in a rowEdit

Fort again won the Camanachd Cup in 2007 by defeating Inveraray 3–1 in Inverness. The club got off to a shaky start in the 2008 season but won the Camanachd Cup yet again 2008, the first time that they had retained the trophy. The club created history by playing the first-ever top-flight fixture on a Sunday against Lochaber Camanachd on 22 June 2008.[4] The club's reserve team also won the Strathdearn Cup in 2008 for the first time. In 2009, the club won the Camanachd Cup for a third successive year, beating Kyles Athletic 4–3 in the final at Oban.[5] That victory added them to the select band of clubs which have won the Camanachd Cup three times in a row, the other clubs being Kingussie, Newtonmore and Kyles Athletic.[6]

James Clark was the talisman for the three in a row years,[7] his last-minute goals causing heartache[citation needed] for Kyles Athletic in particular in the 2009 final.

Through the successful three in a row years, the manager was club stalwart Drew MacNeil, who was also captain in 2005 when they defeated Kilmallie. However, in controversial circumstances, MacNeil claimed he was being forced out of the club due to conflict with the club's board.[8][9] The club committee sacked MacNeil in late October along with his coach Graeme MacMillan due a "breakdown of relationships".[10]

MacNeil was succeeded for the 2010 season by Peter MacIntyre, returning to the post which he had co-held with Davie Stafford when the team won the Premier League.[11] MacIntyre made a strong start to the 2010 season with some good results despite his team not displaying the pomp of old, a 14–0 defeat of Glasgow Mid-Argyll aside. However, there was a massive shock[citation needed] in the MacTavish Cup semi-final when local rivals Kilmallie, playing in North Division One, knocked them out 4–3.[12] However the club went on to record a fourth successive Camanachd Cup win, placing them in the same company as Newtonmore and Kingussie.

Decline and RelegationEdit

In 2011, Fort's run of nine successive Camanachd Cup Final appearances came to an end when they were defeated 8–1 by Newtonmore in the second round. The club finished the season without any silverware as they succumbed to Kingussie in the MacTavish Cup Final and finished well adrift in the league. This marked an end of an era for Shinty and Fort William. Gary Innes confirmed, in his BBC blog, that several older players would be stepping down at the end of the 2011 season.[13]

2012 was a disappointing season for the Fort but this was exceeded by a woeful league performance in 2013 which saw the club relegated to the newly created National Division One for 2014. Fort's fate was sealed by a 1–1 draw against Lovat and a Kyles Athletic victory against Newtonmore. The club bounced back by gaining promotion at the first attempt in 2014 but again lost some more of the senior players that had helped bring them success in the previous year. They finished 8th in the Premier Division in 2015 and since this time the club have been rebuilding with a youth policy in the aim to get back to the top under former club legends Adam Robertson and Victor Smith who were both major parts of the club's past successes and this is starting to show in season 2021 where they are more than starting to hold their own again with the premiership teams.

Shinty V FootballEdit

Fort William and local rivals Kilmallie have succeeded in making shinty the main sport of the town, and their success is in comparison to the distinct lack of success enjoyed by local Highland League team Fort William F.C.[14]

In 2006 the club feared they would lose their ground, An Aird, which fell within a 92-acre area of a proposed plan for a waterfront development.[15] The local authority, Highland Council, have come under fire for their care of the park, especially after the playing surface was stripped bare by rabbits.[16] The company behind the planned development were unequivocal in stating in April 2007 that there would be no development upon the An Aird pitch.[17] In March 2008, Highland Council again came under fire for their negligence of the An Aird surface, which may result in the loss of An Aird's prestigious status as a Camanachd Cup Final host stadium.[18] In February 2009 the stadium was attacked by vandals causing thousands of pounds of damage.

The club was forced to move to the Black Park in Fort William halfway through in season 2011 in order for renovation work to be done on the pitch at An Aird.[19] The club's future at An Aird still remains shaky as in November 2010 further plans to develop the site were revealed by an Edinburgh-based company. The relocation of the Fort to a mooted first-ever all-weather pitch within Fort William may be part of this development.[20] However, the club used Black Parks for most of 2012.

The club provides many players for the international side. Wing centre Gary Innes is a renowned accordionist.[21]

Season by Season recordEdit

*2010-present only

Season League Tier Teams Position Camanachd Cup Macaulay Cup MacTavish Cup
2010 Premiership 1 10 2nd Champions Semi-Final Semi-Final
2011 Premiership 1 10 3rd Round 2 Round 1 Runners-up
2012 Premiership 1 10 4th Round 2 Semi-Final Quarter-Final
2013 Premiership 1 10 9th Semi-Final Round 2 Round 1
2014 National Division 2 8 1st n/a Round 2 Round 1
2015 Premiership 1 10 8th Round 3 n/a n/a
2016 Premiership 1 10 10th Round 2 n/a n/a
2017 National Division 2 8 3rd Round 2 Quarter-Final Round 1
2018 National Division 2 10 Round 3 DNP Round 2


  1. ^ Taylor, Stuart (8 November 2012). "New shinty bosses for Fort William". Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Press and Journal - Article - Eighth final in a row for holders". Archived from the original on 3 April 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  3. ^ "Press and Journal - Article - Eighth final in a row for holders". Archived from the original on 3 April 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  4. ^[dead link]
  5. ^ "Fort William win Camanachd Cup". BBC News. 19 September 2009. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  6. ^[dead link]
  7. ^ "Fort William 3 - 1 Inverary". The Herald. 24 September 2007. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Press and Journal - Article - Manager MacNeil prepared for Fort William swansong". Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2009.
  9. ^[dead link]
  10. ^ "Press and Journal - Article - Fort sack MacNeil despite cup victory". Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2009.
  11. ^ "Fort William Name New First Team Manager".
  12. ^ "Shinty: Kilmallie storm Fort". The Scotsman. 31 May 2010. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  13. ^ "BBC - Gary Innes: Kyles march on, as Kingussie flirt with relegation".
  14. ^'s_shinty_hurdle.html[dead link]
  15. ^ "Builders eye shinty beauty spot". The Scotsman. 6 August 2006. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  16. ^ "Rabbits force Fort William to hop it to new venue". The Scotsman. 22 April 2006. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  17. ^ "Lochaber News: Surprise bid to block Waterfront deal". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 12 April 2007.
  18. ^[dead link]
  19. ^ "The Oban Times - Lochaber".
  20. ^ "Press and Journal - Article - Plans revealed for £15m supermarket on Fort William's shinty ground". Archived from the original on 3 April 2012. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
  21. ^ "Home".

External linksEdit