Our long cold winters may play havoc with your travel plans but for centuries they have played a majot part in Scotland's esteemed place in the global sport of curling.
Here in Perth we punch well above our weight in both World Championships and Winter Olympics, with winning teams reaching back to 1967 when Chuck Hay skipped the Scottish team of Alan Glen, John Bryden and Dave Howie in the World Curling Championships known then as the Scotch Cup. More recently, local girl Eve Muirhead brougt back a bronze in the 2014 Winter Olympics when she skipped the women's UK team.
There are countless wins throughout the years from both men and women at international level and Perth, Scotland is a city that curlers from around the world recognise and respect as a leader in the sport.
This huge success has inspired a fantastic local league and players of all ages and abilities meet to train and practice for the various tournaments throughout the winter season and the recent investment made by Live Active Leisure in the Olympic standard ice plant now housed in Dewars Centre has helped attract and retain world standard tournaments such as the annual Mercure City of Perth Masters - the 2016 tournament gives us our international curling gallery here!
Having recently staged the 40th hosting of the Bonspiel event, the organisers from Perth enjoyed live televised coverage and resulting in 11 games being aired from what is arguably the best curling competition in the UK today. They attract the highest calibre of curling teams from around the world to our Small City making it one of our best secrets to anyone outwith the curling world.
Local curlers pictured here are Robin Brydone, Callum Kinnear (both Team Brydone); Kyle Smith, Cammy Smith, Thomas Muirhead (all Team Smith); Glen Muirhead (Team Brewster) and Graham Shaw (Team Shaw).
The event attracted one of the strongest fields at any curling event this year, with teams from 13 different countries participating: Scotland, Canada, USA, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Japan, Germany, The Netherlands, and The Czech Republic
Team Kevin Koe from Canada won after dominating the field throughout the four day triple knock out format tournament (from 7th to 10th January 2016) and their victory will see the Perth trophy head back across the Atlantic, following fellow Canadian Brad Gushue’s success in 2015.
Team Ulsrud from Norway, former World and European Champions, claimed the runners up title for a second time in what proved to be a fast paced final - due to the Norwegian quartet needing to catch their flight back home from Aberdeen airport early that evening! We do love a wee thrill!
After enjoying a week in Scotland which included a round of golf at The Old Course in St Andrews before getting down to the business end of the week, the winning skip, former world champion Kevin Koe said, “It’s a really tough Spiel, there’s a lot of good teams, all the best European teams and we knew it would be tough coming here, so it feels good to make the long trek over here and win the event.
This is a great event with lots of prestige and lots of history. There’s a few Canadian teams and a lot of good European teams so it’s tough to win because we’ve lost to lots of them before."
From the local contingent in the 32 team line up, Olympic silver medallists Team Murdoch made it to the semi finals having beaten fellow Olympian Tom Brewster in the quarter finals earlier in the day. Their Scottish compatriots Team Mouat also made it to the quarter finals losing out to the eventual runners up of the event.
If you're interested in finding out more about curling, contact Claire Milne who runs various courses for beginners, juniors, seniors as well as overseeing clubs, come & try sessions and corporate curling. Claire is also available for one to one tuition/coaching - call 01738 454700 for more details.
Gallery Photographer: Tom Brydone was a Service Manager with Perth & Kinross Council for many years but has always held an interest in photography. He’ll turn his camera to virtually anything but taking pics of curling is his speciality. He is proud of his place as the official photographer for The Mercure City of Perth Masters and has been photographing the tournament for a number of years now. More on his Facebook page here>>>