While Shinty has been likened to lacrosse, hockey and ice-hockey it is not really anything like it. Apart from all these sports involving sticks and balls, it is quite different and being compared to the likes of these newer games does not really do our Shinty justice. The closest sport to Shinty is probably the Irish game Hurling. Although the rules are quite different, both sports are really old and played at a significantly faster pace than their modern counterparts. I must also emphasise that although similarities exist, any Highlander worth his salt will tell you that Hurling remains only slightly as exciting as Shinty. This unique and fast paced game is one of the oldest sports in the world along with polo and jousting. Shinty originated in the Scottish Highlands; where it is still predominately played. The main events are the Camachd Association Challenge Cup and the Scottish Hydro Premier Division.
The rules of the game are looked after by the Camanachd Association in my home town Inverness and their objectives are to promote and encourage the development of the sport and to make sure that the rules of Shinty are upheld. They also govern the vast majority of Shinty activities and national competitions. Not much has changed in terms of the rules over the years, Shinty enthusiasts like to believe that it is impossible to perfect the perfect game. The playing field has, however, evolved to some extent and in some areas. While Shinty is traditionally played on a field of grass, artificial turf has started becoming popular in recent years and it is now widely accepted that Shinty may be played on such surfaces without compromising tradition.
In regards to alternative surfaces, it is also rumoured that ice-hockey evolved from Shinty after Highlanders settled in Canada and took to playing Shinty on ice for lack of a grass field through the wintry months. Even until today informal ice-hockey games in Canada are referred to as Shinny games. Unlike ice-hockey, Shinty is played with a ball and not a puck. Slightly smaller than a tennis ball; the Shinty ball is made of a solid core of cork and covered in leather. This ball is manoeuvred across the playing field with a stick known as a caman; similar to a hockey stick and also made out of wood. The idea is that the opposite team members get the ball to the enemy’s goal on the other side of the field.
Sound simple? Sure, until you actually watch a game. The vastly different set of rules makes for a very fast and very exciting game where it is not uncommon to experience rivers of blood, sweat and tears. Shinty is not for the faint-hearted and many a Highlander firmly believe that the sport is not internationally renowned for the sheer excitement it provides; not every nation is equipped to handle that amount of adrenaline induced by some men on a field with a bunch of sticks and a wee ball.
Alexander Ross MacGregor focuses his business life on helping the environment through work in the market of renewable energy. He understands the implications of excessive carbon emissions on the world’s atmosphere and is using his experience as a salesman to educate the public. By paying attention to his personal carbon footprint and making necessary lifestyle changes, he hopes to make a profound impact. Through his work in the renewable energy market, he tries to explore ways to reduce energy needs that will save the planet from further damage. He has earned the reputation of being a leader in the field with his experience and knowledge. In addition to renewable energy, he is very active in many types of outdoor sports and hobbies, including marathons, snowboarding, skiing, fishing, golf and shinty.
Previous Professional Experience in the Financial Industry
As a mortgage broker, Ross MacGregor began working at MacGregor Mortgages in the year 2002. During that time he organized and held meetings with his clients in order to understand their financial situation and their mortgage needs. After carefully researching the market, he would follow up with appropriate recommendations for the types of mortgages that would suit their needs. In his final proposal, he would also include options for various types of life insurance policies and coverage to help with the mortgage in case of critical illness.
Entry into the Field of Renewable Energy
Beginning in 2008, Ross MacGregor worked for H & R Energy in Inverness. He was the General Manager where he used his intense interest in the industry to explore and research the challenges faced with the renewable energy market. His hard work paid off and the clientele benefitted from his excellent advice and suggestions—especially on the subject of wind turbines. He became an expert on different types of wind turbines and how to choose the best location for their placement. The turbines are based on kinetic energy moving the propeller blades, which causes a rotor that spins a central shaft, which in turn spins through a gearbox. By increasing the rotational speed, the shaft spins a generator and creates electricity. In addition to advising his company as to the best areas to construct wind turbines, he offered advice on locations to invest in biomass plantations, which are necessary in the production of energy efficient bio fuels. Along with the cultivation of these plantations, he was responsible for pricing of the plantations. He also managed the staff and company jobs that were scattered about the countryside of Spean Bridge and Inverness. This oversight also involved the management and placement of wind turbines. The company initiated complex bargaining for land that took place between the regional farmers and energy suppliers. As the General Manager, it was his job to oversee the talks and formalize the negotiated contracts.
Memberships and Clubs
As an award winning sportsman, Ross MacGregor has won many prizes, including winning first place for the biggest fish in a fishing contest. He has also won awards for competitive shinty and for his participation in various regional marathons.