I've just been watching a BBC Scotland report from the Lake of Menteith, with reporter Sally McNair on hand to witness a few hardy souls playing through a fair bit of surface water! Sadly, the thaw has arrived. But I'll not be taking my stones out of the boot of the car yet. Who knows what lies ahead for us over the next eight to ten weeks of winter. Not the forecasters, certainly. It was just a few days ago that the outlook looked rather promising for today, according to them.
I can look back on a fantastic start to this year. I've thrown stones outside in a number of different places, as you will have seen if you have been following the blog. It was wonderful to be able to celebrate the origins of our great sport, and participate in the fun and fellowship that outside curling brings. Hopefully those who have enjoyed the experience will give their support to the efforts to establish a museum of curling history within the Kinross National Academy setup. There is such a lot of history to be documented and researched. Have a look at what David B Smith has written about the 1929 Grand Match on the Curling History blog here. What wonderful old photographs. Being a train enthusiast, I was knocked out by the pic of the curlers disembarking from a 'special' at the Carsebreck siding.
Of course I was disappointed that there was no Grand Match last week. There could have been one. This is not the place for recriminations, but I have no doubt that there will be much discussion within the Royal Club in the months ahead, and a full assessment made on how the events of the past couple of weeks could have been managed better. And whether there will ever be an official Grand Match again.
Interesting, for me the winner has been Facebook. Not only have huge numbers of great photos found their way on to the social networking site, but it has been great to learn of many of our young curlers appreciating outside curling for the first time. And there's no question that any unofficial bonspiel could have been organised through the efforts of those who set up pages to promote that concept. Indeed, to find exactly what the conditions were like this morning, and whether it was worth making the trip north, it was to Lake of Menteith Hotel's Ian Fleming that I turned, eg here.
OK, just a few more photos which I hope you will find of interest, before skipcottagecurling returns to some sort of normality. The traffic to the blog has been the most ever over the last few days. Thanks to all for your support.
First of all though, if you would prefer to see moving images, Stable Recordings made a video on Saturday, see here.
Above is the helicopter on the Lake of Menteith in 1979. I believe it delivered the RCCC President to the venue.
Thanks to Paul Stevenson for sending me photos to show what the Lake of Menteith looked like yesterday, from about 1500 feet!
And here's the Lake of Menteith on Sunday when thousands turned up to enjoy the spectacle. Thanks to Ewan Chesser for this pic of the Landrover on the ice!
Here we are at Coldstream Mill Pond, not far from Greenacres, on Sunday. There's something missing from this pic! Mark with an X where you think the curlers should be!
Here they are. Some of my own club, Reform CC, ready for action.
I like the little ramp for offloading the stones from the road to the ice!
Tony Tierney in the head.
Recognise anyone? Yep, that IS Richard Harding on the right.
Thanks to David Robertson for the photos above.
This is Craichlaw Loch near Kirkcowan in stunning conditions at the weekend. Galloway Province clubs were in action.
These are members of Glasserton CC who took on Penninghame CC on Sunday.
Louise Kerr about to show how it should be done!
I wonder what Billy Thomson has said to offend Louise?
Liz Forsyth gets a helping hand from Elsie McKillop after failing to master the crampit delivery!
Thanks to Louise and local photographer Billy Broll for the pics above. Wonderful!
And a POSTSCRIPT:
Sandy Morton sends this pic to prove that not all elfin safety are bad people! Members of HM Coastguard Search & Rescue joining in the fun at the Greenan Loch on Bute last Saturday.