Most of my interaction with wheelchair curling and curlers has been at the competitive end of the sport. It was a delight then to receive an invitation from Logan Gray, Active Stirling's Curling Development Officer, to visit the rink at Stirling and see 'his' wheelchair curlers in action.
Wheels were first introduced to the ice at the Peak a year ago (see here), and the Stirling Wheelchair Curling Club will become a member of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club next month, the tenth such wheelchair club to be affiliated. That's Logan on the left in the photo above.
On the day I visited, Sheila Swan, the Royal Club's Adult and Disabilities Development Manager, was on hand to help with several curlers attracted to a 'Come and Try' session. One thing I did learn was that it is no easier managing a first time wheelchair curler than it is their able bodied counterparts!
Great to see so many wheels on the ice at the Peak. Coaches Sylvia Barclay and Fiona Glass were there to make it all happen.
There were even visitors from up the road. Maria Duncan was a visitor from the Kinross Wheelchair Curling Club, keen to get some practice and instruction as the season gets underway.
Did I say 'keen'? There cannot be many keener than Neil Hogg. He saw curling on a news programme on the box last year, came for a try, and has hardly been off the ice since!
John Fyfe is on the cue in this pic. I enjoyed my visit, and wish Stirling, and all the other wheelchair curling clubs, every success and 'good curling' this season.
It may be that out of these grass roots that our future Paralympians will come. I note that British Curling is seeking a registration of interest from any athletes within the UK who wish to be considered for the future Great Britain Paralympic Curling Squad. A series of events has been established to identify the best athletes in the country who may represent Great Britain at future Paralympic games. The details are here.