That's Jim Gales on the left in the photo above, with David Manzie. I met them before, see here. Jim is the voice of visually impaired curlers in Scotland. He continues to promote VI curling. He tells me that the small group of VI curlers based in Kinross will shortly receive an invitation to Canada for the VI Championships and they have more curling opportunity than ever before.
He says, "We need more blind folks to play!"
Jim reminds me that the Vision Impaired Curling group have recently had visitors from the Canadian Blind Curling group and from the World Curling Federation's Development Officer (Eeva Rothlisberger) in an attempt to bring more blind and vision impaired people into the sport and generate an international team for future competition.
Dottie Burt, one of the coaches based at Kinross said, "We received great encouragement and support from the Canadians and held several workshops and curling sessions while they were here. Doris and Walter Koop and Danny Lamoureux are all heavily involved with Canadian blind and vision impaired curling and their experience should prove invaluable".
Currently, the vision impaired curling groups meet on a weekly basis at Kinross and have several social competitions against the wheelchair curlers and other established curling clubs. The group was established with the help of the Fife Society for the Blind, and curlers currently travel to Kinross from as far afield as Edinburgh, Perth and various parts of Fife.
Jim says, "There is massive potential for blind and vision impaired people to take up curling, receive instruction and develop their game. Because curling has a fixed length of ice and set measurements on every sheet or rink, it's not down to strength or particularly levels of sight, it's down to the touch of stone delivery, so there is no reason why anyone with sight loss cannot take up the game. We would love to get more people involved and pull together a team to pop over to Canada and find out more of their set up and games and experience international curling."
If anyone knows of potential VI curlers out there, please pass this on.
And check out the VICE website here.