The MacDonald Cup

macdonald_webOrigin of the Cup

The first formal game of shinty took place at Bught Park in Inverness between Strathglass and Glenurquhart in 1887. James MacDonald played for Strathglass on that occasion and sixty one years later, aged 87, James commissioned the MacDonald Cup to be competed for annually between Strathglass and Glenurquhart in memory of their association with the origins of shinty.

James MacDonald’s family and relatives have maintained a close association with the trophy, his eldest great-nephew Bob Fraser being the current guardian of the cup.

The 1948 Game

The MacDonald Cup was first contested in 1948, the match being played at Borlum Farm in Glen Urquhart.  The teams were piped onto the pitch and the ball from the 1887 match was used at the throw up to start the match.  Strathglass avenged the 1887 defeat by winning 5-2 and received the cup from Archie Scott, son of Duncan Scott who had also played for the Strath back in 1887.James MacDonald was unable to attend due to ill health. Strathglass have held the cup on 19 occasions.


Strathglass and Glenurquhart organise the timing of the MacDonald Cup between them, generally aiming to stage the competition before the start of the season. The Ali Ban Trophy is played for the same day. The venue for the competitions alternates yearly although this is dependant on pitch conditions. Should the match end in a draw, the cup is retained by the current holders.

James MacDonald

Brought up in Tomich, James spent most of his working life as an hotel keeper in Glasgow, returning home to Strathglass upon his retiral. He passed away on the 4 January 1950 and is buried in Clachan Comar Cemetery.