Coodham (above) is a fine venue for outside curling, but too small to host the Grand Match. Followers of the sport will remember all the fuss earlier this year when an opportunity to hold the big bonspiel on the Lake of Menteith slipped away, see here.
At the time there was much criticism of the Royal Club's Grand Match Committee. What has happened since has taken place out of site of the membership - the Grand Match Committee is one of those which does not publish its minutes online. However, an extraordinary note has appeared on the Royal Club website, here. It says:
"The Royal Club would like to welcome venue proposals from groups who can meet the following criteria:
> A Local Organising Group with representatives prepared to attend the Grand Match Committee meetings
> 20 plus acres of ‘shallow’ water
> Agreement of Local Landowners for parking, ancillary services and ice access
> Agreement of Local Blue Light Services
> Sufficient space for parking
> Traffic Plan agreed with the local Police
> A Safety Plan for players and spectators"
Surely this is all what the Grand Match Committee is charged to do? My first reading of this note is that the committee is just shirking its responsibilities, and now putting the onus on local curlers to enter into negotiations with police and ambulance services? Or just organise the whole thing themselves? Surely not.
But maybe I'm just misunderstanding the Committee's intentions. I see opportunities here for the Grand Match Committee to be revitalised, and for lots more potential venues to be identified. And that's a good thing.
Anyway, anyone with a venue in mind should get in touch with the present Grand Match Convenor, Jim Paterson, via Carnie House, contact details here.
The pic of a small group of enthusiasts enjoying their sport at Coodham in January is © Skip Cottage.