I went to see a game of shinty on Saturday. In London.
Yes, after living in Inverness for three and a half years I never made it to a single game, despite telling myself I really should go and see the “national sport” of the highlands. But when I read that London was hosting its first game for eighty years I thought it might be nice and ironic if that one were to be my first, several hundreds of miles south of where both I and shinty came from.
It turned out to be a lot of fun, with London Camanachd scraping a 1-0 win over the Highlanders army regiment in front of a crowd of about 50 or so. From what I could make out from overheard accents and conversations, the London team was made up of a curious mix of Scots expats, English folk who had played at university in Scotland, and Irish converts from hurling. It will be interesting to see whether the newly-resurrected club grows at all.
Oh, and it peed it down with rain for the first half, which was not only welcome after the scorching heat of the last few days, but also highly appropriate for a Scottish sporting fixture. Ken Livingstone should introduce more Scottish cultural events during London’s summer droughts – it’s the only sure way to get the heavens to open.
Things are cooling down now though thankfully – I have escaped London, and after a couple of relaxing days seeing friends in Winchester, I am now in Aberdeen overnight. It’s still really hot, but in a nice Aberdeen summer’s day kind of way, rather than London’s black snot kind of way.