New ice age at refurbished rink

The opening bonspiel to mark the completion of the works at the Kinross rink. (Photo: Andy Macpherson)
The opening bonspiel to mark the completion of the works at the Kinross rink. (Photo: Andy Macpherson)

Curling facilities in Kinross have received a major boost with the completion of upgrading works costing in excess of £1 million.

Work at the town’s rink - built in 1977 as an extension to the Green Hotel - was undertaken over the April to September off-season and saw the building stripped back to its steel frame.

After the floor was excavated, it was rebuilt with concrete, incorporating various layers, including heating to avoid ground heave, insulation and 13km of pipes carrying the refrigerant.

The walls and roof are now insulated and a new ice plant, boilers and ducting for air and heating have been installed. A new electricity sub-station also had to be built.

Two years ago, the rink was facing closure as the refrigerant used in its ice plant is soon to be outlawed under EU regulations and the building required major investment to remain fit for purpose.

Kinross Curling Trust, a charitable body with around 400 curler members, arranged to take over the running of the rink from the owners via a long lease, and set about raising funds for its refurbishment.

Largest contributor was sportscotland, who awarded £400,000, while Perth and Kinross Council povided £125,000. Other grants came from Scott Davidson Trust (£20,000), Kinross Community Council (£3000), Kinross-shire Partnership (£2500) and Kinross-shire Round Table (£2000).

At the recent opening bonspiel, trustee Doug Ritchie thanked in particular the fund-raising efforts of members of the trust.

“The key to securing external funding has been the contributions from curlers and local bodies – around £390,000 in total, through donations and loans – a magnificent achievement.”

The Kinross trust successfully ran the curling rink for one season prior to the refurbishment.

Mr Ritchie, the trust’s business manager, added: “We enter the new season with a ‘state of the art’ ice hall which should enable us to provide very high quality ice and excellent curling.”

The trust plans further improvements, such as disabled access to the upper floor lounge.

Nearly 40 curling clubs and 1500 active players use the Kinross rink each season, including a successful junior club.

Eighty members of the trust took part in the opening bonspiel, a fun, social event.