At first sight you might be excused for thinking this is a normal curling session at The Peak, Stirling. In fact all the curlers in view are between 8 and 12 years of age! Today, ten teams competed for the Mhairi McAughtrie trophy, two from Forfar, two from Kinross, two from Perth, two from Stirling and one each from Gogar and Hamilton. Play began at 8.30, or there might have been even more teams from further afield.
The Peak has six sheets, and the extra one was used for a friendly between a team of Waterfront young curlers who were just too old for the main event, and a local team.
I was bowled over by what I saw today. To see forty young curlers playing together, all just twelve years and under, was impressive.... and inspirational! Each rink had a coach, really just to keep things organised and promote etiquette, and to help only if asked. What patience and enthusiasm from these Stirling coaches. Mhairi had been one of these, and must surely be proud that her name is attached to such a fabulous event.
Helen Watson keeps an eye on a Gogar v Perth game.
All hands on this Perth stone.
Perth 2 v Kinross
As well as the short games, there was a draw-to-the-button competition, with a team prize. The top five best individuals all got the opportunity to play a further draw. That's Iain Waddell (in the black) following his stone, and watching his sweepers!
The stones are measured.
And it was Iain, from Lanarkshire Young Curlers, who was the closest. Indeed, the Hamilton side won the team draw-the-button competition. (And not just that, see below)
Maggie Mauchline was the organiser of the day (well done Maggie), and here she is introducing Jim McAughtrie who presented the prizes.
Curlers sit with their opposition, as parents look on at the prizegiving.
Medals were awarded to the competition winners and runners-up, and to the team and individual winners of the draw-the-button. And three medals went to special 'shots of the day' as picked out by Ian Keron.
Jim with the runners-up, from Forfar 1: Euan MacDiarmid (skip), Ewan Maguire (3rd), Calum Anderson (2nd) and Bruce Keillor (lead).
And here's the winning team from Hamilton. L-R: Luke Carson (skip), Alistair Torrance (lead), George Ballantyne (2nd) and Iain Waddell (3rd).
And here's all the curlers and coaches. Click on the pic to see a larger size.
You know, it's a great game is curling. Last weekend I was photographing the National Masters, and some of whom playing at Greenacres (if they don't mind me pointing out) were in their 70s. Today at Stirling, my camera was pointed at under-12s! The same sport. I wonder if there are future world champions and Olympians in the group I saw today. I wouldn't be surprised!
Photos © Skip Cottage