Pan Ross Social

Curling

Page 11 

SENIOR CURLING

The Province began a Senior (over 55) curling league this year (1994), mainly by the efforts of Ian Morrison of the Caberfeidh club. Six teams regularly participate on Wednesday evenings on 5.30 ice. The season will end with a mini-bonspiel at Brora at the end of March. Perhaps next season a team will take part in the Senior tournament at Inverness Ice Centre for the Sinclair Salver. New members are welcome.

Rinks:

Ellie MacGillivray, Allan Maxwell, Lilias Mackenzie, Ritchie Wilkinson, Roderick Mackay,
Eileen Gammie, Willie Dalgetty, Margaret Bruce

David Bruce, Joan Maxwell, Andrew Gammie, Betty Howell, Bill McBain, Helen Munro,
Evan Jack, Gay McCall

Babs Ross, Hamish Sutherland, Betty McCutcheon, Alastair McCall, Eleanor Moodie,
Ian Morrison, Rosemary McCallum, Eric Munro

Substitutes:

Gordon Bruce, Roderick Stirling, Rhoda Gordon, Vivien McPherson, Mhairi Robertson,
Liz Barras, Flora Fraser, Alastair Butter

STRATHPEFFER
1904

Patron - Major Blunt, RA
Patroness - The Countess of Cromartie

President - William Gunn, Nutwood
Vice-President - A Bignold, Esq., of Lochrosque, MP
Representative Members - David Harrow, W F Gunn
Chaplains - Rev D Ferguson, Rev John C Nicholson
Treasurer - Colin Fraser
Secretary - Alex Cross
Committee or Council of Management -
David Smith, Andrew Lunn, Rev J C Nicolson, George Fraser, Dr E H Duncan, Roderick Mackenzie, Dr Bruce, A D Whyte
Honorary Members -
John Stirling, T S McAlister, D Cameron, Major Stirling, K Cameron
Ordinary Members (Regular) -
Wm. Gunn, Robert Lunn, Dr E H Duncan, Captain Featherstonhaugh, W F Gunn, A Wallace, Dr W Bruce, Colin Fraser, H Beaton, Andrew Lunn, Jas. Wallace, Peter McEwen, A Cross, George Fraser, James Kemp, David Harrow, David Smith, Rodk. Mackenzie, Donald Forbes, David Ross, Rev Jn. C Nicholson, A D Whyte, John Robertson, D Maclennan, George Smith, Don. Sinclair
Ordinary Members (Occasional) -
Sir A G R Mackenzie, J McMaster, John Ross, Rev D Ferguson, John Asher, John Mackenzie, George Wotherspoon, T W Maxwell, A Prestwick, James McC. Duthie, W McDonald

2004

President - A Wallace
Representative Members - I Fleming, H Slater
Secretary - Mrs C York
Treasurer - Mrs I Fleming
Match Secretary - Mrs C York
Ice Rink - Inverness
Honorary Members -
J Cameron, S Mackenzie, Mrs M McKie
Junior under 18 years - Miss C Macdonald, Miss N Macdonald
Ordinary Members -
Mrs G Cameron, Mrs I Fleming, W Fleming, Mrs S Fleming, Mrs G Macdonald, Mrs E McCutcheon, E Miles, Mrs H Robb, Mrs A Rose, N Roxburgh, Miss K Ruck, B Shanks, Mrs H Slater, Miss V Spark, Mrs A Wallace, Mrs C York

The Strathpeffer Curling Club joined the Royal Caledonian Curling Club in 1885, the same year that it was instituted.

Strathpeffer was represented at the inaugural meeting of the Ross-shire Curling Association on Wednesday 22 November 1893 by the Rev. Thompson, and the club was drawn against Dingwall in the first balloted competition. This match did not in fact take place because ice conditions proved unsuitable. However, in the second balloted matches drawn on the 7 November 1894, Strathpeffer put forward no less than five rinks, the largest entry in the Province. These matches were played at Muir of Ord on the 12 January 1895. The Strath rinks ended the day with an average of minus one point. In all, thirty-six rinks took part in this bonspiel, representing fourteen clubs. It must have been a brave sight on "good ice in the early part of the day, but a thaw latterly set in".

The 1903-04 RCCC Annual gives Major Blunt, RA, as Patron and the Countess of Cromartie as Patroness. The President was William Gunn of Nutwood and the Vice-President A Bignold, Esq. of Lochrosque, MP. Club Secretary was Alex Cross, Cromartie Buildings, Strathpeffer. The Chaplains were the Rev. D Ferguson and the Rev John C Nicholson. There was a considerable membership of twenty-six regular, eleven occasional and five honorary members. The latter included John Stirling and Major Stirling of Fairburn and a name which catches the eye, Captain Featherstonhaugh - does any reader recall this gentleman?

Angus Mackay, Strathpeffer, is mentioned in the Ross-shire Journal of October 1979 ('Forty-four Years Ago') as Vice-President of the Province in 1935. Presumably he was President the following year. Regrettably, no minute book survived from that period to confirm this. However, the first recorded minute of the 'new' Strathpeffer minutes, dated 7 February 1942, mentions "the absence of the Chairman, Mr Angus Mackay, through illness". The previous minutes had apparently departed with former Secretary and Treasurer, Mr E MacIver. Can they still be in existence?

W Smith was appointed Province President in 1959 and A C Robertson in 1965. The latter also took part in the first Grand Match held on Lake Menteith in 1963, the remainder of his rink comprising J Rose, Wm. Robertson and D M Scott. The most recent Province President was Sandy Porter, elected in 1972.

The Strathpeffer club has a long pedigree, especially in regard to outside curling. It is recorded (30 October 1908) that "as the site occupied by the former pond had been taken up by the Spa Syndicate, the club transferred their play to Elsick, where the pond had been put in good order and a new clubhouse built". The possibility of an artificial rink on the Pavilion Tennis Courts was first discussed in December 1956. After much deliberation and some procrastination, sufficient funds were raised to go ahead with this project in 1962. The new rink was officially opened on 15 January 1963 at a cost exceeding one thousand pounds. Indeed, the club was so vibrant at this stage than an embargo was considered on membership.
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The following extract is taken from Glimpses of Gunn and is reproduced by permission of the authors - Ann Yule and the family of the late Allan Haldane:

Belle Maltman, VAD nurse

Another lady who had good cause to remember Neil* was a VAD nurse stationed at Elsick House, near Strathpeffer, in 1941; her name was Belle Maltman. Let Belle tell the story herself:

"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!"

On a happier note Belle adds that as a result of that unfortunate incident she became a keen curler herself, and recalls that Neil was "a perfect gentleman in complete control of his feelings, which must have been murderous."

* the author Neil M Gunn

YOUNG CURLERS

Curling has always been a "young man's game" but never more so than now. It is important therefore that the young lifeblood of the game should not be in danger of drying up.

All of the top teams in the Allan Moore 'A' League are products of an early introduction to the sport. Charlie Munro of Caberfeidh; Mike Wilson of Avoch; Ian, Lynn and Brenda Fraser; Kathleen and Norman MacIver; Calum MacRae; Coreen Munro; George and Michael Paul; Paul Moodie; David and Robert Lees; Robert Urquhart - all products of school curling. The encouragement of the Province, particularly that of Donald MacLean, senior and junior, has played an important part in this success story. The MacLean Trophy, played between Ross- shire schools, was a good introduction and produced many excellent games of high standard.

The Loch Ness Trophy, played at Aviemore, set an even higher standard. Originally a schools' competition, it was first won by a Fortrose Academy rink in the Sixties - Allan Taylor, Iain Mackay, Mike Paul and Graham Maclennan. Later the competition was extended to 'junior' curlers, i.e. under 25, and Ross-shire won it twice more, on each occasion with a 'composite' team drawn from a number of Ross-shire schools. On the first occasion our skip was Erica Munro assisted by Douglas Maxwell, Gordon Duff and Ewan Robertson.

The second time, two years later, involved only one change in this winning combination. Erica was off to university, Douglas became skip and a very youthful, very talented pupil moved in as lead - Colin Galbraith. In their first match they pulled off one of the upsets of the tournament by beating Alistair Scott from Aberfeldy by six shots to four. Scott at this time was regarded as one of the leading junior players in Scotland and was a former winner of the Scottish Schools' Competition. In the second match they thrashed Inverness Royal Academy sixteen shots to three, to emerge as bonspiel winners. Incidentally, this result is still incorrectly displayed on the Aviemore board.

Having tasted success at this level, naturally our youngsters have spread their wings still further, taking part in the International event held annually at the Inverness Ice Centre but not, it has to be said, with any major degree of success. It would require a major commitment, involving tournaments all over Scotland, to achieve this standard.

However, one of our number did reach the top in International circles. Colin Galbraith was a member of Allan Manuel rink which won the World Junior Curling Championship in Calgary in 1988. Sadly, Colin was killed in a motoring accident shortly after, a real tragedy for his family and for Northern curling. But his success must be an inspiration to all budding youngsters in Ross-shire because it demonstrates that the native talent is here. We only need the resources to make it a reality. Schools' curling has started again at Inverness with a series of coaching sessions which we hope will be extended in the 1994-95 season.

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