Update on activity in the Highlands and Islands

The Beast from the East may be sweeping its way across the country but there’s been no shortage of indoor action to keep Scottish badminton fans entertained on the Highlands and Islands.

Thankfully every type of weather is badminton weather and those in Skye, Western Isles, Shetland, Caithness, Orkney, Inverness City and East Sutherland have certainly been making the most of the opportunity.

From coaching sessions to competitions, the week has been packed with action both on and off the court – with still plenty more to come on the horizon over the course of March.

Here’s a taster of what’s been happening in the Highlands and Islands.

Badminton basics

Working with Active Schools Highlands as part of their Young Sports Leaders programme, 12 candidates in Golspie have introduced themselves to coaching the sport of badminton.

The dozen complete the course next Friday before heading out into local primaries, delivering after-school sessions prior to running a Sutherland Primary Schools event.

Similar to a Big Hit Festival, some coaching will be followed by a fun competition, with a view to engaging the next generation of badminton stars.

Speaking of the Big Hit Festival, more than 200 children from 13 cluster schools in the Wick High School catchment area took part in two-hour sessions, led by Young Sports Leaders.

All part of Caithness and Wick Junior badminton club, the primary school pupils have been able to feed into Keiss, Latheron, Lybster and Wick junior badminton clubs, with a view to taking part in the annual Caithness Junior Championships.

Ten candidates also took part in a course held at Culloden Academy, which saw parents who want to be more hands on at club nights given ideas and information about running sessions with younger children.

Competitors take to the court

As well as the basics, there was also plenty of competitive action to whet the appetite in the Highlands and Islands.

That was certainly evident in the Yell Championships, Shetland, where visitors Caithness and Orkney almost completed a clean sweep of trophies, with only the men’s doubles title being retained by Shetland.

Meanwhile the Shetland Championships followed a week later with Kevin Smith retaining his men’s singles title prior to announcing his retirement.

And from the adults, to the kids as Shetland hosted Orkney in an under-15s competition, where the visitors prevailed 20-16.

The second leg of the Inter County saw Caithness A walk away with further glory, securing the match-winning all ladies doubles contest with a 16-8 victory.

Players from as far as Barra and Uist were also in action in the Western Isles in junior tournaments, while Nairn Badminton Sports Club held their penultimate competition of the weekend.

Elsewhere, the Skye Badminton Association are continuing to run Come & Play sessions across the area following it up with fun inclusive competitions, with their Championships to be held on March 24.

Schoolchildren take their first badminton steps

Everyone starts playing badminton somewhere and the next generation in Scotland have certainly been making their mark in the Highlands and Islands.

Merkinch Primary represented Highland in the Primary Quaich, with the final qualifiers for the Primary Scottish Schools Badminton Union (SSBU) set for this Thursday.

Inverness Royal Academy are also in Quaich action, this time at secondary level, competing at both junior and senior level.

And finally Gairloch and Portree High School will be hosting the S1-S3 Ross-shire and Skye & Lochalsh Secondary Championships next week, hoping to build on the impressive badminton that has already been on display.