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Clubs & Organisations

Clubs and organisations

It is natural for people with a common interest to come together to share ideas and help each other. This is just as true in the Highlands as elsewhere.

Help groups
People interested in helping others less able than themselves, or in helping communities in general, have set up a variety of community development groups and local charities across the Highlands. Some of these are completely local, such as Merkinch Enterprise; others are local branches of national groups, such as Riding for the Disabled and the Red Cross. Among local charitable organisations are the Puffin Pool and the Highland Hospice, both of which aim to enhance medical care. The Blythswood charity began as a Christian outreach organisation and has since expanded to become a highly respected international aid agency.

Heritage societies
An interest in local heritage and culture has often led to the formation of clubs and societies. The Gaelic Society of Inverness was founded in 1871, and the Inverness Field Club in 1875. Nearly every area has its own local heritage society. Such groups make a major contribution to local scholarship and often share membership with local scientific and conservation groups, such as the Highland Geological Society, which seeks to both study and preserve Highland geology.

Sporting organisations
Sport brings people together both as participants and as spectators. Team games like football need considerable organisation, but less formal activities like mountaineering also require administrative backup in order to arrange transport and accommodation. The oldest surviving Highland League football club, Brora Rangers, was founded in 1878. Inverness Mountaineering Club dates from 1950. On 10 October 1893 the Camanachd Association was set up to govern the game of shinty and to establish the rules, a truly Highland sporting organisation if ever there was one.

Men’s clubs, women’s organisations and youth groups
Freemasons’ lodges are to found in most Highland burghs. The British Legion too has premises in many towns. The Rotary Club and Round Table both meet regularly for businessmen and professionals.

Women also have their own organisations. The SWRI (Scottish Women’s Rural Institute) is strong across the Highland and Islands. Most churches support women’s meetings such as the Women’s Guild.

Cubs, Scouts, Guides and the Boys’ Brigade all provide interesting activities for young people, as do many local youth clubs.

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Images: 29Boys' Brigade
Images: 33British Legion
Images: 17Freemasons
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Images: 34Scouts & Guides
Images: 2YMCA

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