It’s always a challenge to run a rugby team on Scotland’s islands, particularly as you have to travel to the mainland at least once a fortnight during the season and the small population supplies limited numbers.
However, when you have a well run clubhouse enjoyed by the entire island community you are well on your way to winning the battle.
This is the case for Mull Rugby Club who, this week, celebrated the reopening of a brand new sports facility and clubhouse at Garmony, near Craignure.
The facility which now boasts revamped changing rooms, a kitchen, a shop, foyer, decking and spectators’ area and a function room and bar will be utilised by a vast array of sports teams including football, shinty, hockey, athletics, schools and motor cross as well as rugby.
This will be bolstered by weddings, fun days and corporate meetings, all attracted by the picturesque surroundings of Loch Linnhe and Ben Nevis which sits beautifully on the horizon.
Moreover, the facility will allow the growth of rugby on the island to flourish. Already the club has:
The clubhouse’s reopening celebrations took place after the senior fixture on Saturday evening (19 November) with a dinner and ceilidh.
The club hosted over 90 locals, players and sponsors as well as Scottish Rugby’s Chief Executive Mark Dodson, President Ian McLauchlan, council and board representative Ed Crozier and Director of Communications and Public Affairs Dominic McKay; also in attendance was former international and founding member of Mull RFC, John Rutherford.
Ian McLauchlan said: “I’m completely taken with the enthusiasm and energy that Mull Rugby Club have had in building this facility and developing rugby on the island.
“It’s simply unbelievable the amount of money they have raised particularly as the community is made up of very small numbers.
“They have created a fantastic clubhouse here at Garmony but haven’t settled at that; they are now looking to phase two whereby they want to build an indoor training centre.
“We at Scottish Rugby are delighted to support Mull’s efforts because their enthusiasm is exactly what rugby is all about in Scotland.”
Mull Rugby’s secretary and treasurer, Duncan Swinbank, added: “The clubhouse is absolutely vital to the rugby and sporting community right across Mull.
“Running a rugby team out on the islands is a difficult task, but having a central hub where we can work out of is great and allows the business to run well. It just leaves the travelling to worry about.
“We are extremely honoured to have received the support from Scottish Rugby. We couldn’t have asked for a better turnout with the new Chief Executive coming along. It was such a good night.”
The club has received fantastic support from its numerous sponsors in the process of revamping their facilities and have their very own Mull Lottery, which was set up to invest money in the community.
The club receives support from Rural Opportunities, TSL Construction, Glengorm Estate (main shirt sponsor), Salen Hotel, Craignure Inn and Mull Mussels; City Architects in Edinburgh helped them with the planning for the new build.
For more information on Mull Rugby club and their new facilities visit www.mullrugby.co.uk.