Friendly and chilled-out Kirkcaldy ice rink reception on National Curling Day

Over 20 interested and enthusiastic beginners visited Fife Ice Arena on Monday for a promotional ‘try curling’ session.

Thursday, 18th November 2021, 3:16 pm
Coaches and beginners gathered at Fife Ice Arena to celebrate National Curling Day with an introduction to the sport (pictures by Fife Photo Agency)

The occasion was organised to mark the first ever National Curling Day, designed to raise awareness and interest in the sport and hopefully encourage more participation, with the Winter Olympics due in three months’ time.

The Rosslyn Street venue offered a range of activities, including a display of curling memorabilia, while coaches from Scottish Curling took visitors on to the ice and helped them deliver a few stones.

There was a game taking place which they could watch, in addition to a family tryout session.

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Other ice rinks across Scotland held similar events, while the date – the 15th day of the 11th month – was chosen specifically, as 1511 was the first year in which a game of curling was ever played.

Kirkcaldy’s event, like the others, was open to all ages and abilities, attracting one participant aged seven and another in their 70s.

All were first-timers, indicating a healthy potential interest locally in the sport, while the opportunity is likely to be repeated around the time of the 2022 Winter Olympics, being held in Beijing from February 4-20.

A few club curlers brought people along to introduce them to the sport and they were confident that some would return, perhaps for coaching or to join the area’s clubs.

Sweeping ahead of the stone to reduce friction on the ice (picture by Fife Photo Agency)

Bill Creevy, of Kirkcaldy Curling School, said: “With the Olympics coming up, we want to try and build on what we did on Monday and do the same again at same time as the Olympics and increase awareness of the sport.”

Many of those who attended had views some training sessions on line and also watched a safety video, available on the Sottish Curling website – which was also played in the rink’s television lounge – to give them an idea what to expect.

This was very helpful, said Mr Creevy, as it meant more time could be spent on the ice.

Rink bosses said National Curling Day was “a fantastic opportunity to highlight all the wonderful aspects of the sport,” adding: “It's fun, tactical and a great way to stay connected and active during the winter.

“It's been a tough time for all indoor sports during the Covid-19 pandemic but we at Fife Ice Arena have loved seeing our clubs and members returning safely to the ice these last few weeks.”

Maggie Wilson, head of development at Scottish Curling, said: “National Curling Day is a great celebration of our fantastic Scottish sport.

"We're dedicated to showcasing the sport to new audiences and hopefully getting more local people involved in the sport.

"Whether you have your first taste of the sport at primary school ,or as a new hobby in retirement, curling has something for all ages and abilities.

"I'd encourage all local people to visit and take your first step to becoming a curler.

“With the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing next year, this is a crucial season.”