Summer Roadshow: President's Perspective
Scottish Rugby President Dee Bradbury was part of the Scottish Rugby Development dept group who took part in the Caledonian North summer roadshow last week. She reflects on the activities of the roadshow from Inverness, Orkney and the Shetland Isles.
“It’s been a hectic but brilliant few days visiting and meeting the clubs around Inverness, Orkney and Shetland with Sheila Begbie MBE and her Rugby Development colleagues.
We started off in Inverness on Wednesday and although the weather hadn’t decided to play ball for our initial visit of the tour, the enthusiasm was there for all to see at Highland Rugby Club and their excellent facility.
Then for our first flight of the trip – Inverness to Kirkwall – where we were warmly met by members of Orkney Rugby Club. Our staff started things off with a coach development workshop in the clubhouse before heading outside in the evening sun.
We met with members of the men and women’s squad as a game of Tartan Touch took place and heard tales of commitment and passion for our game. It was evident how travelling to and from games is such a large aspect of life on the isles.
The club went above and beyond to welcome us and put on a fantastic meal and I was presented by President Brian Lanni with a copy of Orkney’s 50th year annual.
After dinner our team then rolled up their sleeves and got stuck into some washing up, as a small thank you to the club for their hospitality.
We found ourselves treated to a spectacular Orcadian sunset that evening, although we were reminded that in the summer months this part of the world doesn’t really get dark.
The following morning, we visited Papdale School to get involved in one of their rugby sessions. It was great fun to be part of in the session, but it did remind me that I wasn’t as agile as I used to be! We were then whisked off to the airport for our next flight to Sumburgh.
It was evident just how quickly the elements can change in this part of the world, with our flight being severely delayed as the plane was unable to land due to fog and had turned back to Aberdeen.
We had heard rumours that they may have to cancel the flight, so started to look into alternative arrangements, should that happen, one of which included sleeping in the airport!
Thankfully it didn’t come to that, and we were able to get over to Lerwick and were met by the Jarl of South Mainland Up Helly Ah, Liam Mullay, and his squad. For me, meeting a small Viking in full regalia called Daniel was one of the highlights of the trip.
I had the pleasure of presenting Shetland rugby club with a Scotland shirt after their evening training session in the pouring rain but, again, it was still all smiles from the squad members.
The next day we headed back to the Clickiman facility and was shown around their superb indoor facility by Shetland Islands Council Sport and Leisure manager, Neil Watt, for a school’s session.
Afterwards we were presented with a memento of our visit and shown around the hall with all the shields from the various Jarls, which really gave us an understanding of the strong sense of heritage on the isles.
Our final flight of the trip was back to Inverness where we met up with the other four groups who had also been visiting clubs and delivering sessions across the north of Scotland for a debrief and a BBQ courtesy of Scottish Rugby Hospitality.
I was fortunate enough to hear all stories from the work that had been carried out across the three days and it was an honour to be part of it.
It was my pleasure to have been involved in an historic first roadshow for our Rugby Development team which gave us a chance engage with our clubs on a one-to-one basis. I’m very confident this won’t be the last of such tours.”