Shinty: The Skeabost Horn
Adharc Sgeitheaboist

The Skeabost Horn is one of shinty’s most unusual trophies. It is a replica of clan chief Ruaraidh Mòr MacLeod’s 16th Century drinking vessel from Dunvegan Castle and was presented to the Southern Shinty League by Duncan MacLeod of Skeabost in Skye (1876-1950) in 1926.

A businessman, philanthropist and benefactor on a large scale of Skye shinty among many other causes, Duncan Macleod was one of the eleven children of a Broadford crofting family descended from the Macleods of Raasay and was reputed to have left Skye with a half-crown in his pocket and returned a millionaire!

Chan eil a leithid eile ann an saoghal na camanachd ri Adharc Sgeitheaboist. Sàmhla do dh’adharc òil a’ chinn-cinnidh Ruaraidh Mòr MacLeòid bhon 16mh linn agus a bha ann an Caisteal Dhùn Bheagain. Chaidh adharc Sgeitheaboist a chur air adhart mar dhuais camanachd do Lìog a’ Chinn a Deas le Dunnachadh MacLeòid Sgeitheaboist bhon Eilean Sgitheanach (1876-1950) ann an 1926.

Bha Dunnchadh na fhear-gnothach ainmeil agus na thaic is cuideachadh mòr do chamanachd a bhoineadh dhan Eilean, a-measg iomadach gnothach eile dhan tug e cabhair. Bhoineadh e dhan Ath-Leathann far an deach a thogail air croit agus bha 11 anns an teaghlach a bhoineadh do Chloinn Ic Leòid Ratharsair. Tha e ri aithris gun do dh’fhàg e an t-Eilean Sgitheanach le leth-chrunn na phòcaid agus gun do thill e na mhillionaire!

Bha Dunnchadh gu mòr an sàs ann an saoghal an uisge-bheatha tro leithid Bulloch Laide agus aig ceann a’ ghnothaich bha a’ chompanaidh fhèin aige le sruth airgid de £15 millean aig àirde. Cheannaich e oighreachd Sgeitheaboist bho theaghlach MhicDhòmhnaill ann an 1920 agus chur e air adhart grunn oidhirpean feuch an gabhadh teachd-a-mach àiteachais an sgìre leasachadh gu buannachd chroitearan agus tuathanaich an eilein.

He laid the foundations of his fortune as an export manager in Glasgow. He afterwards controlled and managed the whisky firm of Bulloch Lade which he sold to the Distillers Co Ltd and eventually set up the firm of Duncan Macleod and Co which had a turnover of £15 million in its heyday. He bought the Skeabost estate in Skye from the Macdonald family in 1920 and immediately embarked on experiments to improve agricultural output which would be of benefit to farmers and crofters.

As well as establishing an educational trust to help young islanders, Duncan Macleod was extensively involved in the Gaelic association An Comunn Gàidhealach, The Glasgow Skye Association, the promotion of piping, and local affairs in Skye. He was for many years chieftain of the Glasgow Skye shinty club. Without his patronage in the immediate post-war years it is extremely doubtful if Skye Camanachd could have met their heavy commitments on the mainland. On one occasion he is reputed to have even helped Beauly with the expense of travelling to Portree to play in a match from which they would otherwise have scratched.

It is fitting, perhaps that Glasgow Skye were the winners of the competition for the the Skeabost Horn in the first five seasons in which it was played from 1925-26. Glasgow Inverness-shire got ion their way the following year, before Glasgow Skye won it again in 1931-32.

Stèidhich Dunnchadh MacLeòid urras foghlaim a bha a’ cuideachadh òigridh bho na h-eileanan agus bha e gu mòr an sàs anns a’ Chomann Ghàidhealach, Comunn Sgitheanaich Ghlaschu, saoghal na pìobaireachd agus cùisean ionadail anns an eilean fhèin. Bha e iomadach bliadhna na Cheann-feadhna air sgioba Chamanachd an Eilein Sgitheanaich an Glaschu agus gu dearbh gun a chuid-taic tha e gu math soilleir nach robh e air a bhith comasach do sgioba an eilein fhèin aig an àm a bhith a’ frithealadh farpaisean is eile air tìr-mòr anns na bliadhnaichean an déidh a’ chogaidh. Air aon uair, tha e coltach gun do chuidich e sgioba bhon Mhanachain a bha a’ dol a tharraing à gèam anns an eilein le beag-stòrais.

Nuair a chuir e air adhart Adharc Sgeitheaboist, bha e gu math coltach agus iomchaidh gur e sgioba an Eilein an Glaschu a ghlèidh an fharpais còig tursan sreath a chèile bhon chiad bhliadhna a chaidh a chluich ann an 1925-26. Bhuinnig sgioba Inbhir Nis ann an Glaschu e an ath uair, ach thill e gu sgioba an eilein ann an 1931-32.

Chan eil duais eile ann an saoghal na camanachd de sheòrsa, no cho eireachdail na dhòigh fhèin. Tha e air a bhith na dhuais air diofar riochd de dh’fharpaisean rè ùine agus a measg nan sgiobaidhean a bhuinnig an Adharc tha Oilthigh Ghlaschu, Camanachd Dhùn Èideann, Meadhan Earra-Ghàidheil, Eilean Bhòid, Cabarfèidh Chomann nan Allt, Camanachd Lunnainn, Poileas Srathchluaidh agus Sgioba Ghàidheil Ghlaschu.

Amongst the other teams to have won the unique trophy, which has been played for in a number of different forms from knock-out to league to special occasions, are Glasgow University, Edinburgh Camanachd, Glasgow Mid Argyll, Bute, Cumbernauld Caberfeidh, Edinburgh University, Tayforth Camanachd, London Camanachd, Strathclyde Police and Glasgow Highland.