Historic Fife sporting club celebrates 200 years on ice

Players gather for Aberdour Curling Club's 200th Anniversary bonspiel in Kinross.
Players gather for Aberdour Curling Club's 200th Anniversary bonspiel in Kinross.

Sporting enthusiasts from a Fife village were on the ice at the weekend to celebrate a landmark birthday.

For the members of Abourdour Curling Club, one of the oldest in the region, marked its bi-centenary in typical fashion with a friendly curling contest, as they have done now for the past 200 years.

Aberdour Curling Club members onthe ice in 1920.

Aberdour Curling Club members onthe ice in 1920.

Players, known within the sport as ‘rinks’, from eight neighbouring clubs from West Fife were on hand to enjoy Aberdour’s hospitality at the club’s 200th anniversary bonspiel at Kinross ice rink.

The neighbouring clubs finished ahead of Aberdour by 37 shots to 28, but fellowship and friendship were the real winners in this latest milestone in the club’s long history.

Founded in 1818, at a time when curling was at the height of its popularity and arguably Scotland’s principle sport, the club boasted noble links with George Douglas, the 16th Earl of Morton, who also carried the courtesy title of Lord Aberdour, the club’s first president.

Current president Bill Rennie, who has himself been a club member for the past 30 years, told the Press the earl took an active role in the club’s formation, a fact detailed within the 1818 club minute books which survive in the club’s archive to this day.

Aberdour Curling Club members on Otterson Loch in 1890.

Aberdour Curling Club members on Otterson Loch in 1890.

And as village’s oldest sporting club, it played a prominent role in the launch exhibition at Aberdour Heritage Centre when it opened in 2017.

“It remains a popular sport to this day with the club still boasting a healthy membership who compete in the West of Fife Provence League throughout the season which runs from September to April,” Bill explained.

“Added to that, unlike many other clubs, Aberdour has a mixed membership of both male and female who compete alongside each other, which is great.

“We play most of our matches at Kinross ice rink, which is a purpose-made facility, as well a as occasionally at Kirkcaldy ice rink.”

Aberdour Curling Club  members on Otterson Loch in 1890  (William Lyon 1839-1894 throwing stone).

Aberdour Curling Club members on Otterson Loch in 1890 (William Lyon 1839-1894 throwing stone).

And with the coverage of winter sports now being afforded by the likes of the BBC, Bill thinks the sport will continue to grow in popularity in years to come.

“Certainly the coverage helps,” he said. “Ask most people over the age of 30 and they’ll remember Scotland’s women’s team winning the gold medal. People know about curling and more and more are giving it a try.

“The club is in a healthy place for the next 200 years.”