Highland Rugby Club’s new home at Canal Park has become a gem for rugby and sport in Inverness and it saw a bumper crowd turn up when it hosted its first football match last week. With Clachnacuddin FC’s ground out of action due to their recent fire, Canal Park was chosen as a late alternative venue for their match with Fort William in the Highland League.
The enviable state-of-the-art facilities at the fingertips of Highland RFC were obvious for all to see, with many of the football fans having their first look at the extensive facilities offered at the club. 700 fans packed out the spectator’s balcony and they even spilled pitch-side to see Clach lose 1-0 to bottom of the table Fort William. There were initial worries about convincing fans about the rugby venue being an appropriate alternative, but the exceptional facilities spoke for themselves.
The Canal Park facility is estimated to have cost over £4 million, with the bulk of the money coming from the Highland Council who have handed over the management of the facility to High Life Highland and Highland Rugby Club themselves. Opening in late 2017, the facilities were welcomed with open arms by the sporting community of Inverness who had been crying out for more up-to-date facilities for outdoor sports events. With its multiple players’ changing rooms, medical room, conditioning suite, offices and toilet facilities, Canal Park really had transformed from a basic facility into a comprehensive resource for the entire local sporting community. The stadium also boasts an opulent function room, kitchen, bar and balcony for spectators allowing them to really revel in whatever sport is on show on the pitch below. Outside there is a new World Rugby compliant artificial pitch with extensive floodlighting, a natural grass pitch and a brand new partly floodlit junior pitch.
All these resources must be doing something for Highland Rugby Club’s fortunes and it sees them riding high in 3rd place in the Tennent’s National League Division 1, having only been just promoted from Division 2 last season.
Canal park image from https://www.highlifehighland.com/