Bobby Kirk, Newtonmore

The iconic image of Bobby Kirk in classic full-back pose is from the Jack Richmond Archive, Highland Archive Centre.

Tributes have been paid to Bobby Kirk of Newtonmore, who died at the weekend, aged 78.

“Kirky”, as he was best known to most people locally, was born in Maybole, Ayrshire in March 1941 before he and siblings May Anna and Billy, along with their parents Bob and Mary moved to Glentruim in 1945 to operate the Dairy Farm which they occupied until Bob retired around 30 years later.

Bobby, like many others in Newtonmore’s great era of the 1970s, learned his shinty on the top of the golf course under the leadership and tuition of the then head master Donald Finlayson, or “Schoolie”. He was good enough to graduate to the village senior team from the early age of 16/17, in due course becoming an iconic figure in the team of the late 50’s early 60’s and into the 70’s.  He was one of the key figures who laid the foundations of one of Newtonmore’s greatest periods.

Such was Bobby’s physique and strength then that he easily displayed all the attributes of the young muscular farmer who had just been lifting 2 cwt sacks of oats up the granary stairs at the farm a couple of hours earlier. He was one of the leaders on the training circuit and on the field an accomplished and admirable exponent of the game. Hard, but with no small degree of skill, he was always as fair as could be expected in the rough and tumble of 90 minutes.

Bobby won his first Camanachd Medal in the 1958 cup final against Oban Camanachd, a feat he was to accomplish again five more times, regrettably never as captain which was something he regretted immensely.  He held multiple honours however and a stack of senior cup and trophy medals – as well as cherished Silver Mounted Camans of the Macaulay and MacTavish competitions.

When not playing his first sport of Shinty Bobby was also a keen footballer and regularly played in the local Badenoch Welfare League. He also enjoyed shooting when on the farm.

Bobby had two children from his first marriage - Christine and Robert and in 1968 he married Jane and together they produced 3 lovely children Sheena, Julia and Andy.  

In 1974 at the age of 34 at the end of his illustrious playing career of 18 years and before emigrating to Canada, Bobby was asked to pick his most memorable game, and there were many. He singled out the 1970 Camanachd Cup final game on the Dell.  His most disappointing game, he held, was the 1963 Camanachd Cup knock-out by Kilmallie. Asked if he had any unfulfilled ambition, he said he had very few but would have liked to have captained the Scottish National Shinty Hurling team.

In 1982 Bobby and Jane returned to Scotland and to build their new home Tari Mara – a picture postcard property on the eastern outskirts of Newtonmore.

Having achieved so many wonderful things in his life, Bobby sadly died on the morning of 1st Feb 2019 leaving behind an outstanding legacy and especially a family who will cherish his memory and his love for all that was good in life.

To Jane, Sheena, Julia, Andy, Christine and Robert together with May and Billy and indeed wider family goes the deepest and heartfelt sympathy of the shinty community at this sad time for you all.       

A Memorial Service will be held at St Bride’s Parish Church, Newtonmore on Wednesday 6th February at 12.30pm

A full version of the tribute being paid to Bobby Kirk at the Memorial Service will be published in due course.


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