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August 2002

Local Hotelier Pat Buchanan Becomes Director of Highland 2008 At Skye Meeting

Pat Buchanan who with her husband run the Dunbeath hotel and who is already on the board of Visit Scotland has become a director of Highland 2008 the group bidding for the Euro Soccer event in 2008.

The meeting  was held in Sabhal Mor Ostaig, Sleat, Skye, hosted by the Inverness Highland 2008 bid team.  Skye and Lochalsh is set to play a prominent role in promoting cultural connections with Ireland should Inverness Highland become the Capital of Culture in 2008.  The Camanachd Association and the Feisean movement are keen to work together to promote a Celtic Cultural festival, involving young and senior players and musicians.

If the Scotland/Ireland Euro Soccer 2008 bid is successful, the cultural festival could co-incide with this significant event. It is also being suggested that Portree should host for the first time the final of the Camanachd Cup in 2008.

Donnie Grant MBE, President, Camanachd Association, the governing body of shinty, said: "The Scotland-Ireland shinty connection is already well established through our shinty-hurling games at club and international level.   There is a clear opportunity to develop a special programme of events, say over a week, during 2008 to promote the connection at youth and senior level. Shinty is part of the Fhis movement in some areas, and it would be great if we could formalise our relationship to incorporate a wider cultural experience."

Donnie also indicated that he would support a bid by Skye Camanachd to host the Camanachd cup final in 2008.  Young representatives of Fhis an Earraich (Skye and Lochalsh) have established strong exchange links with the Armagh Pipers Club in Northern Ireland, and earlier this year visited Armagh on a third round of exchanges. Fhis Rois, too, have had regular links with a group in Co Roscommon, and Fhisean nan G`idheal have been building on links with organisations in Ireland involved in similar work to themselves.

Fhisean nan G`idheal Director, Arthur Cormack said: "We, and the local Fhisean, would be pleased to work with other agencies to organise and participate in a Celtic Cultural festival in Skye and Lochalsh in 2008, incorporating Gaelic language, traditional music and shinty."

Dougie Pincock, Director of the National Centre of Excellence for Traditional Music, Plockton High School, believes that there is scope to organise festivals for traditional musicians and also to attract a major piping event to Skye and Lochalsh area in 2008.  He said: "I feel that one of the most important things that Inverness Highland 2008 can do is to build on activities that are already there. Relations between Scottish and Irish traditional musicians have been strong for years, and this is a great opportunity to make a really strong link between the top young musicians of both countries.

There is already a pipe band festival on the Isle of Skye, and Dougie sees no reason why this could not be expanded. He said: "It doesnt have to be a competition. There are plenty of examples now of non-competitive pipe band events, like the big marches in New York and Edinburgh, and the major concerts
at Celtic Connections and elsewhere. The chance is there to use these models to create a really exciting large scale pipe band event in the cradle of piping.The meeting at Sabhal Mor Ostaig was followed by a meeting of the Directors of Inverness Highland 2008.

Welcomed were five new directors, namely Grant Sword, Highlands and Islands Enterprise; Donald Shaw, Inverness and Nairn Enterprise; Pat Buchanan, VisitScotland and Councillors Andy Anderson and Bill Smith, The Highland Council.

They join on the board, Chairman Councillor David Green, Convener of The Highland Council and Dr Jim Hunter, Chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise.