Pan Ross Social

Pan Ross Collage

Ross-shire curlers in action at outdoor bonspiel, Grantown on Spey 29 December 1992.

Social Activities in Ross-shire

Curling in Ross-shire

"There is a small pond about twenty yards from Elsick House and when it froze we were delighted and begged and borrowed skates which we used that night when we were off duty and though it was dark we enjoyed it and were returning to work next day when we met Neil Gunn. More in sorrow than in anger he pointed out, to our horror, that we had skated over and churned up the local Curling Club's rink. He ..... showed us how to throw a curling stone - I think to let us see how it bumped and went off course thanks to the damage we had done!"

[Belle Maltman, a VAD nurse stationed at Elsick House, near Strathpeffer, in 1941.]

Extract from Glimpses of Gunn courtesy of Mrs Ann Yule and the family of the late Allan Haldane.

The accounts which follow were compiled at the time of the Caberfeidh Curling Club's sesquicentennial celebrations.

1. Foreword                                     16. Edderton
2. Index of clubs                              17. Fairburn
3. Curling Province Presidents    18. Fearn and Locheye
4. Major Allan Cameron                19. Ferindonald
5. Allangrange                                 20. Highland River Purification Bd.
6. Alness                                           21. Invergordon
7. Ardgay                                          22. Killearnan
8. Avoch                                            23. Ledgowan
9. Belmaduthy                                  24. Muir of Ord
10. Caberfeidh                                 25. Resolis
11. Chanonry                                   26. Rosehaugh
12. Cromarty                                    27. Ross-shire Ladies
13. Dingwall                                     28. Seniors
14. Dornoch                                     29. Strathpeffer
15. Easter Ross and St Duthus    30. Young Curlers


No one knows the origins of the game of curling. We may all amuse ourselves with ideas and images of ancients experimenting on ice with stones, sliding them hither and thither and delighting in the variety of the resulting manoeuvres and sounds. That all comes unstuck when, to paraphrase the philosopher David Hume, we are required to produce evidence of fact rather than conjecture, however well-intentioned.

Scotland is recognised as the home of the game and in 1883 Queen Victoria granted the title of Royal to the Caledonian Curling Club.

We know, from records published by the Royal Caledonian Curling Club, that organised curling existed in the seventeenth century. The oldest Scottish club currently recorded is Kinross, instituted in 1668. Many clubs in the central and borders areas of Scotland were formed subsequently during the eighteenth century but the north of Scotland appears to have had no curling club formed until Elgin in 1850, followed by Caberfeidh in 1855.

Scots introduced the game overseas, principally in Canada in the late eighteenth century, and Canada is now easily the biggest curling nation.

Curling took place in the north of Scotland prior to that time but we may assume that it was on an informal, however competitive, basis. Jack Frost dictated the frequency on pond, loch or man-made outdoor facility, and held sway until the latter part of the twentieth century when ice rinks were built at Aviemore, Inverness, Elgin and Brora. Sadly, Aviemore and Brora ice rinks have now closed but the sport is still played by more than 1200 curlers at Inverness and Elgin. A significant number of those curlers can boast success at National, International and Olympic levels.

The appointment by the Royal Caledonian Curling Club, four years ago, of a Curling Development Officer has led to the recruitment of significant numbers of new curlers to the sport, particularly at junior level, and to the provision of increased volunteer coaching services for curlers of all ages and abilities.

Curling has been a source of enjoyment for the people of the Highlands for many years. Roderick MacKay and Captain Roderick W K Stirling of the Fairburn club both provide proof of that assertion as each has been awarded the Royal Caledonian Curling Club's gold medal to mark 50 years' membership of their club and participation in the sport (see photo). They are the first curlers in the Highlands to achieve this distinction. Jack Frost willing, they will not be the last!

Hugh A MacKay
13 January 2007

Continued on Page 1

Members of Caberfeidh Curling Club on a visit to John Haig & Co in the 1970s.
Back row:  ?  ?
3rd row:  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?
2nd row:  __ Ross;  Eric Munro;  Jack Grant;  Alex Maclean;  ?  ?
Front row:  ?  ?  ?  Ian Sutherland;  ?  ?
RCHS would be grateful if blanks could be filled. 
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