North Caledonian Football League
|Number of teams||9|
Orkney (1st title) |
|Most championships||Clachnacuddin reserves|
|2017–18 North Caledonian Football League|
The North Caledonian Football Association is a football association operating throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and is a Recognised Body of the SFA and as such has its senior football competitions officially registered with the Scottish Football Association.
Member teams have included reserve teams of Highland Football League clubs alongside amateur teams from throughout the Highlands and Islands region. As Highland Football League clubs are full members of the SFA, disciplinary procedures in the league are handled directly by the SFA – a unique situation in Scottish amateur football.
As well as holding membership of the North Caledonian FA, Golspie Sutherland are also full members of the Scottish Football Association and as of season 2007–08 have obtained direct entry to the Scottish Cup. Prior to this they were entered into the Scottish Qualifying Cup (North) each season. Since 2013, membership is extended beyond the Highlands to clubs in the Islands, with Orkney, Shetland and Lewis & Harris all entering teams.
Member clubs for the 2018–19 season
|Alness United||Alness||Dalmore Park|||
|Bunillidh Thistle||Helmsdale||Couper Park|||
|Golspie Sutherland||Golspie||King George V Park|||
|Halkirk United||Halkirk||Morrison Park|||
|Inverness Athletic||Muir of Ord||Pavilion Park|||
|Orkney||Kirkwall||The Pickaquoy Centre|||
|St Duthus||Tain||Links Playing Fields|||
|Thurso||Thurso||Sir George's Park|||
Member clubs (cup competitions only) for the 2018–19 season
|Lewis & Harris||Lewis & Harris||Jubilee Park, Dingwall|
|Nairn County U20s||Nairn||Station Park, Nairn|
|Shetland||Shetland||Sir George's Park, Thurso|
Evolution of the league
The association was founded in 1896 as the "North of Scotland 2nd XI League" to accommodate "2nd XI" teams from the Highland Football League which upon its formation mostly consisted of teams from the Inverness area. By the turn of the century, the association had welcomed new member teams from throughout Inverness-shire and Ross-shire who were not affiliated to the Highland League who were instead playing as junior football teams, such as Muir of Ord, Beauly, Dingwall Victoria (later known as Ross County) and Tore United.
From 1948 the league was known essentially as the North of Scotland "2nd XI" League or "Highland Reserve League", having dropped its junior tag and instead becoming recognised as a senior football league. By the 1970s, the Highland League reserve teams which had frequently entered teams gradually dropped out with most finding that it was not financially viable to run "2nd XI" or reserve teams each year.
In a bid to shake the stigma of the "2nd XI" tag (and the inference of being "second best") the remaining amateur football clubs in the league took the decision to rename the league and at the 1984 annual general meeting of the North of Scotland 2nd XI Football Association in Bonar Bridge, member clubs voted unanimously to change the name of the association to the North Caledonian Football Association and the name of the league competition to the North Caledonian Football League.
The North Caledonian Football League is often characterised by the number of clubs who have used it as a 'stepping-stone' to the professional ranks of Scottish football. Among those to have 'graduated' from the league are Rothes, Wick Academy and Fort William who left to join the Highland Football League as well as the reserve teams of the Scottish Football League clubs Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Ross County.
The 2008–09 season saw the league reduced to ten teams following the withdrawal of Dornoch City and Inverness City joining the Junior leagues. Late applicants Tain Thistle took the league membership up to ten teams for the start of the season.
Fort William entered a reserve side in the league for season 2009–10 as the first Highland Football League "reserve" side to compete since 1999. Helmsdale based Bunillidh Thistle withdrew whilst Alness United took a year out, and former members Dingwall Thistle returned to complete a ten-team league.
Clachnacuddin again entered a reserve side for season 2011–12, whilst Fort William Reserves dropped out due to problems with pitch availability. Before the season started, both Bonar Bridge and Invergordon withdrew, leaving just eight teams in the league. The following season 2012–13, Invergordon returned while Balintore and Dingwall Thistle both withdrew from the league.
Invergordon again withdrew from competition for the 2013–14 season, however, the void was filled by a new team from Dornoch in Sutherland United. That same season, a newly formed Shetland team and Lewis & Harris both registered for competition in the North Caledonian Cup.
The following season, 2014–15, Shetland and Lewis & Harris also competed in the Jock Mackay Cup, while a new team, Orkney, was accepted as a member of the league – the first Islands team to do so.
Invergordon returned following a two-year period of abeyance, however, along with Muir of Ord Rovers, Sutherland United withdrew from the competition after just their second season, taking the amount of competing teams down to six for season 2015–16.
Bunillidh Thistle are the most recent club to join the league - having been accepted at the North Caledonian League's AGM in June 2017. This marks a return to the competition for the Sutherland club, having last been involved in 2009 and increase to nine teams. For the 2018-19 season, all member clubs retained their membership status.
- 1896–97 Inverness Celtic
- 1897–98 Inverness Citadel reserves
- 1898–99 Nelson FC
- 1899–00 Nelson FC
- 1900–01 Inverness Thistle reserves
- 1901–02 Inverness Citadel reserves
- 1902–03 Inverness Citadel reserves
- 1903–04 Clachnacuddin reserves
- 1904–05 Clachnacuddin reserves
- 1905–06 Nelson FC
- 1906–07 Nelson FC
- 1907–08 Nelson FC
- 1908–09 Nelson FC
- 1909–10 Clachnacuddin reserves
- 1910–11 Inverness Citadel reserves
- 1911–12 Nelson FC
- 1912–13 Nelson FC
- 1913–14 Albert FC
- 1914–19 No competition
- 1919–20 Dingwall Victoria United
- 1920–21 Nelson FC
- 1921–22 Inverness Citadel reserves
- 1922–23 Caledonian reserves
- 1923–24 Fortrose Union
- 1924–25 Catch-My-Pal FC
- 1925–26 Nelson FC
- 1926–27 Clachnacuddin reserves
- 1927–28 Dingwall Victoria United
- 1928–29 Inverness Thistle reserves
- 1929–30 Clachnacuddin reserves
- 1930–31 Inverness Thistle reserves
- 1931–32 Clachnacuddin reserves
- 1932–33 Inverness District Asylum FC
- 1933–34 Inverness District Asylum FC
- 1934–35 Inverness Thistle reserves
- 1935–36 Nairn County reserves
- 1936–37 Clachnacuddin reserves
- 1937–38 No competition
- 1938–39 Highland Light Infantry FC
- 1939–46 No competition
- 1946–47 Invergordon
- 1947–48 Inverness Thistle reserves
- 1948–49 Caledonian reserves
- 1949–50 Clachnacuddin reserves
- 1950–51 Clachnacuddin reserves
- 1951–52 Caledonian reserves
- 1952–53 Caledonian reserves
- 1953–54 Elgin City reserves
- 1954–55 Nairn County reserves / Buckie Thistle reserves (shared)
- 1955–56 Clachnacuddin reserves
- 1956–57 Clachnacuddin reserves
- 1957–58 Clachnacuddin reserves
- 1958–59 Inverness Thistle reserves
- 1959–60 Inverness Thistle reserves
- 1960–61 Competition incomplete
- 1961–62 Competition incomplete
- 1962–63 Inverness Thistle reserves
- 1963–64 Clachnacuddin reserves
- 1964–65 Avoch Rovers
- 1965–66 Ross County reserves
- 1966–67 Brora Rangers reserves
- 1967–68 Brora Rangers reserves
- 1968–69 Dingwall Thistle
- 1969–70 Caledonian reserves
- 1970–71 Dingwall Thistle
- 1971–72 Dingwall Thistle
- 1972–73 Alness United
- 1973–74 Alness United
- 1974–75 Golspie Sutherland
- 1975–76 Golspie Sutherland
- 1976–77 Invergordon
- 1977–78 Dingwall Thistle
- 1978–79 Wick Academy
- 1979–80 Wick Academy
- 1980–81 Wick Academy
- 1981–82 Wick Academy
- 1982–83 Bunillidh Thistle
- 1983–84 Muir of Ord
- 1984–85 Fort William
- 1985–86 Muir of Ord
- 1986–87 Wick Academy
- 1987–88 Invergordon
- 1988–89 Bunillidh Thistle
- 1989–90 Balintore
- 1990–91 Balintore
- 1991–92 Clachnacuddin reserves
- 1992–93 Golspie Sutherland
- 1993–94 Halkirk United
- 1994–95 Inverness Caledonian Thistle reserves
- 1995–96 Fearn Thistle
- 1996–97 Ross County reserves
- 1997–98 Inverness Caledonian Thistle reserves
- 1998–99 Golspie Sutherland
- 1999–00 Thurso
- 2000–01 Alness United
- 2001–02 Invergordon
- 2002–03 Thurso
- 2003–04 Golspie Sutherland
- 2004–05 Alness United
- 2005–06 Balintore
- 2006–07 Golspie Sutherland
- 2007–08 Golspie Sutherland
- 2008–09 Golspie Sutherland
- 2009–10 Thurso
- 2010–11 Halkirk United
- 2011–12 Halkirk United
- 2012–13 Thurso
- 2013–14 Halkirk United
- 2014–15 Golspie Sutherland
- 2015–16 Halkirk United
- 2016–17 Invergordon
- 2017–18 Orkney
- As of end of season 2017–18
|Inverness Thistle reserves|
|Inverness Citadel reserves|
|Brora Rangers reserves|
|Dingwall Victoria United|
|Inverness Caledonian Thistle reserves|
|Inverness District Asylum FC|
|Muir of Ord|
|Nairn County reserves|
|Ross County reserves|
|Buckie Thistle reserves|
|Elgin City reserves|
|Highland Light Infantry FC|
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-11-17. Retrieved 2011-07-09.
- Alness United, nonleaguescotland.org.uk, Retrieved 5 May 2015.
- Bunillidh Thistle, nonleaguescotland.org.uk, Retrieved 1 October 2017.
- Golspie Sutherland, nonleaguescotland.org.uk, Retrieved 5 May 2015.
- Halkirk United, nonleaguescotland.org.uk, Retrieved 5 May 2015.
- Invergordon, nonleaguescotland.org.uk, Retrieved 1 October 2017.
- "Inverness Athletic F.C." nonleaguescotland.org.uk. Retrieved 2016-06-08.
- Orkney, nonleaguescotland.org.uk, Retrieved 5 May 2015.
- "St Duthus F.C." nonleaguescotland.org.uk. Retrieved 2016-06-08.
- Thurso, nonleaguescotland.org.uk, Retrieved 5 May 2015.
- Clach back in North Caledonian League Highland News, Retrieved 23 July 2011.
- "Shetland Squad : Shetland Football". www.shetlandfootball.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-06-08.
- "Ball rolling on Orkney FC - The Orcadian Online". The Orcadian Online. 2012-08-02. Retrieved 2016-06-08.
- "St Duthus accepted into the North Caledonian FA | St Duthus Football Club - Tain, Highland, Scotland". www.stduthusfc.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-06-08.
- "North Caledonian FA - Latest News". www.leaguewebsite.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-06-08.