Sunday, December 27, 2009

Curling outside

With low temperatures in many parts of Scotland over the Christmas period, I've been keeping my eyes and ears open for news that keen curlers have been finding ways to play outside. The members of the Highland Curling Club maintain an outside rink at Kingsmills in Inverness. There are four sheets at the rink. They have a concrete base and are sealed with bitumen, and have been in operation for 111 years. They were completely refurbished in 2000, and new floodlights installed then. With only one exception, 2006-7, there has always been sufficient frost for curling.

This season has been no different! Here are members using the tee-ringer to mark out the house.

And here are members ready to go, outside their fine clubhouse. Thanks to Jim Brown for the pics. Jim advises that the club had three games yesterday (Boxing Day), and were set to play Nairn CC this afternoon.

Keen curlers are always welcome at Kingsmills, and anyone who fancies a game should just get in touch with Jim or anyone else in the club. The Highland CC has a Facebook page here.

This would seem to be a good time to flag up the project, headed up by Lindsay Scotland and David B Smith, to have an interactive map of all the places where outside curling has been played. Lindsay notes that they have now completed their first pass through all the places in David’s original list (which was a simple pdf file), and now 2454 places are on the map!

Have a look at the news information on the RCCC site, here. Lindsay says, "There’s lots more to do to make it more complete and accurate, and we also have plans to add pictures, but I think it is pretty impressive already."

As do I! But it's going to take a lot of work yet to get the maps accurate, and to the point that the information can be relied on. I searched for the Kingsmills rink, above, and I've posted the screenshot. Each map icon, when clicked upon, brings up a description, eg, 'Annual 1905. Photograph 1937; Rectangular curling ponds, probably tarmac, shown in OS 6 in, 2 ed; 1906. Perhaps still in use in 2009...'

No 'perhaps' about it! If the above photos are not acceptable as evidence, then there are further ones on Highland's CC Facebook album here, and the pics on this link here show play at Kingsmills last January!

And here are some pioneering curlers! There's no historical evidence, as far as I am aware, that curling was ever played on this little lochan near Cowans Farm, Kirkgunzeon. Here's John Munro showing good style, despite the absence of a crampit!

Young Grant Hardie was in action too.

Here's Grant giving ice. I like the use of an empty whisky bottle as a dolly! There are lot's more pics on Grant's Facebook album here.

Thanks to Jim Brown and Grant Hardie for permission to use their photos. Let me know if anyone else has been outside this holiday period.