A Century of Sport
by Alan Potter (2007)
in consultation with sports groups in Invergordon
The diversity of sport in Invergordon was celebrated by representatives of these local groups coming together to work on the mural design with Alan.
Invergordon Bowling Club
Invergordon Boating Club
Invergordon Golf Club
Invergordon Football Club
Ross and Sutherland Rugby Club
The Century of Sport mural group organised a reminiscence event about sport in Invergordon while the artist was in residence.
This was kindly hosted by the Invergordon Bowling Club whose generous hospitality provided a warm welcome to Alan Potter and all those involved in this mural.
Lots of stories and photographs were shared, giving Alan a wealth of ideas to go into the final design.
A key theme linking all the sports is the Royal Navy and their involvement in sports in the town, when Invergordon was a regular base for the Naval Fleet.
Reminiscing and Sharing ideas at the bowling club
A Century of Sport – Artist’s interpretation
A Century of Sport Mural
The design attempts to illustrate the various outdoor sporting activities enjoyed in Invergordon during the past 100 years.
As most sports in the town involve the use of a ball of one kind or another it seemed logical to use this device as a means of linking the individual references to the eight sports shown in the design. In the right hand corner the narrative begins with a Victorian golfer teeing off at the American Gardens.
The ball arcs towards an Edwardian lady tennis player who strikes the ball onwards to a cricket player circa 1920. Our cricketer knocks the ball forward where it becomes the jack in a game of bowls being played by a lady during World War 2. A sailor watches the game from the pavilion which was sponsored by the Royal Navy.
The ball progresses to become a football which is struck by a player in the strip of Invergordon FC in the 1950’s. It is then transformed into a rugby ball which is caught by a rugby player of the same era.
The ball motif is further transformed into the sun and subsequently into the end of the greasy pole which was used in competitions at the outdoor swimming pool and was fixed to the diving platform. From the top of this platform a swimmer dives into the pool, her swimming cap forming another circular ball image.
The cycle is completed with the scene of a sailboat about to round a racing buoy in the Cromarty Firth.
Familiar landmarks are shown such as the church steeple and the fuel tanks. The bowling club pavilion is shown, which was of similar design to those of football, rugby, tennis & cricket clubs which were all probably donated by the Royal Navy.
Alan Potter, 3rd May 2007
Mural nearing completion
“Alan created the Century of Sport and this was actually relatively straight forward considering he was working with five different sports clubs
Looking back it was probably his laid back Paisley charm and all the good baking at the bowling club that helped to smooth the way. As it couldn’t have been an easy brief.
He tied the whole scene together using the circular motion of the ball which sweeps through the century in time starting in Victorian times with the golfer in the American gardens which is located within the current course.
Incidentally, one of the bowlers depicted was a Scottish champion for several years. In the background you can see the standard clubhouse which the navy gifted to many of the clubs. The name on the sailor’s hat HMS Hawkins gives a clue to the actual ship which assisted.”
Marion Rhind, founder of Invergordon Off the Wall
Photos of Invergordon’s Outdoor Swimming Pool
Download our app
Why not download the location-aware Invergordon Off the Wall app to help you find the murals, unlock interactive features and learn even more about them during your visit to Invergordon.
The History of Invergordon Golf Club
Golf began in Invergordon in 1893 with 9 holes at Rosskeen. Strange as it may seem, golf could only be played there during the spring and winter because the course was laid out on arable land and the grass cutting machines of the time couldn’t cope with the amount of growth in summer and autumn.
In 1921 a 9 hole course was opened on land now occupied by Invergordon Distillery and Seabank housing. The course extended to border Joss Street in the town.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, the government took over the course and built a camp of Nissen huts to house the armed forces stationed in Invergordon. The golf club was given £5,000 by way of compensation and this money was used to build a 9 hole course in the grounds of Invergordon’s former castle. Seven of those holes survive as part of our present 18 hole course which opened in 1996.
Invergordon has long held a place in naval history and was an important base in the First World War for the Royal Navy and also served as a base for flying boats in World War 2. Learn more about our history with a visit to the Invergordon Naval Museum. To this day the course maintains its links with the Royal Navy by offering free golf to Naval Officers.
The History of Rugby in Invergordon
As rugby made its way north, it took hold in Inverness in the early 1920s. Shortly afterwards a Ross and Sutherland contingent broke away to form Ross and Sutherland RFC. Records begin in 1927 although the club began running a few years earlier in 1923. The club spent some time in Dingwall and Strathpeffer before coming to the Naval Grounds in Invergordon, which were gifted to the local community by the Admiralty. Our pitches and facilities – as well as the welcome visitors receive – are widely recognised as the finest in the North.
A further breakaway saw the formation of a new Sutherland RFC who played in Brora. When the club folded in the late 1980s Ross Sutherland RFC once again became the representative club for Ross-shire and Sutherland. As part of the CG2014 Legacy initiative, we have helped to re-establish rugby facilities in Sutherland with donation of rugby posts at our hub in Golspie.
At Ross Sutherland Rugby Club we are proud to have started the careers of many fine players who have gone on to play high level rugby for clubs all over the world. The club’s most famous player was Duncan Macrae, who played for Scotland and the British and Irish Lions on the 1938 tour of South Africa.
Working in partnership with other clubs and the Caledonia Regional Training Programme, Ross Sutherland Rugby Club manages the talent of young players and consistently produces junior players who go on to play representative rugby at regional and national level. In recent seasons we have seen young players we developed represent Caledonia Region at youth leveland break through into the Scotland Age Grade teams.
Our greatest success on the pitch came on 30th April 2018 when we defeated Wigtownshire RFC 12-3 at BT Murrayfield to lift the National Bowl.
Our home in Invergordon was originally Admiralty playing fields and we became lease holders when the navy left Invergordon. Our pitch has excellent drainage and folk-lore has it that the navy used clinker from ship’s engine rooms as a layer of foundation for the pitch. HMS Sutherland often “pops” in to Invergordon and we usually raise a team to play them so our link with the navy is strong to this day.