July 31, 2007

Curling prominent at Border Union Show

The Border Curling Development Group has been successful in raising funds from the National Lottery 'Awards for All' programme, which helps local communities. Thanks to this support, the Border curlers were able to have a stand at the Border Union Agricultural show last Friday and Saturday to promote our sport at the local Border Ice Rink, Kelso.

Border Area Development Officer Jim Buchanan reports a very successful two days. Those manning the stand were able to point to recent success. Well kent local curler Keith Prentice skipped his Scottish Senior Champion team to the World title in Edmonton in March.

Top: One of the new lottery funded promotional banners. Below: Jim Buchanan (left) and RCCC Border Representative Bert Duncan with an enlarged photo of the World Senior Champions. (Photos courtesy of Jim Buchanan)

July 29, 2007

National Academy training camp at Inverclyde

Scotland's very best teams are members of the Elite Squad and are supported by the Scottish Institute of Sport. The next 'layer' are the eight teams which make up the Royal Caledonian Curling Club's National Academy Squad and they met at the weekend at sportscotland's National Centre at Inverclyde. As described previously, the National Academy has evolved from the National Junior Squad and involves more than junior teams. This year the National Academy includes one 'older' team, skipped by Alan Smith who is 32. Also in the squad is Logan Gray's side which is just out of juniors, and junior teams skipped by Anna Sloan, Eve Muirhead, Claire Hamilton, Glen Muirhead, Jamie Dick and Greg Drummond. All are members of various Area Institutes of Sport.

Alan Smith has had to make a change to his lineup for this season because of injury to Ross MacDonald. David Reid joins the team as second with Mark Fraser at lead and Neil McArthur at third.

Lectures and practicals from John Bradley (exercise physiologist with the Scottish Institute of Sport) and Mandy Belch (physiotherapist on the curling programme at the Scottish Institute of Sport) were complemented by talks from Tom Pendreigh on 'The modern world of curling equipment and practices' and from Andrea Faull (sports psychologist with the Scottish Institute of Sport) on 'Mind over matter'. Team activity games and team building activities filled up a packed two day programme. The weekend was organised by the Royal Club's Performance Development Coach Nancy Murdoch (right).

Top: RCCC President Tommy Hinnigan and Ladies Branch President Patricia Thompson join National Academy athletes, team coaches, lecturers and trainers outside sportscotland's National Training Centre at Inverclyde. Middle: Team Smith L-R Mark Fraser, David Reid, Neil McArthur and Alan Smith. Above: Physiotherapist Mandy Belch in action in a training session with the athletes, RCCC President Tommy Hinnigan observing in the background.

July 27, 2007

British Curling's Performance Plan for the Vancouver Olympics

British Curling, the body which will select, support and prepare Britain's curling teams for the Vancouver Olympics and Paralympics, has announced its Performance Plan for the period leading up to the games.

The Plan has been in gestation for many months and has been agreed with all of British Curling's partner organisations and members: the British Olympic Association, British Paralympic Association, English Curling Association, Royal Caledonian Curling Club, Scottish Disability Sport, Scottish Institute of Sport, sportscotland, Scottish Wheelchair Curling Association, UK Sport and the Welsh Curling Association.

The key features of the plan involve the selection of individual curlers into squads of eight, which will be whittled down to form teams of five players. The important change, made in response to comments and feedback from those involved in the run up to the 2006 Games, will be that the teams should be finalised well in advance of the Vancouver event. Additionally, the Performance Plan suggests that only curlers who have already made their mark in international competitions will be considered for selection.

The text of the press release from the Scottish Institute of Sport reads, 'The plan outlines performance targets, the staffing structure and selection process, as well as the key elements of the programme's content and delivery. In addition, the athletes have fully participated in the review process, to ensure the most appropriate content and delivery of the performance programme for the Olympic squads.

After a highly successful 2006/7 season during which curling was the only winter sport to achieve all UK Sport targets, British Curling is looking forward to the next three years with confidence.

Chairman of British Curling, Chris Hildrey, commented, "This performance plan will be delivered with the integrated support of all the partners. The ultimate target of medal success in 2010 is something we all partners look forward to working on together."

Derek Brown as Scottish Institute of Sport head curling coach and British Curling performance director, whose role is to deliver the world class plans for curling in the build up to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, as well as the European Youth Olympics in 2009, commented, "The performance plan reflects the collective thinking of our partners and importantly, the athletes as well. What we have now is a plan that will result in improved quality of coaching and support services through working with smaller, targeted groups of athletes for longer lead in times."

The selection process will continue to be based on individual performance, although following feedback from key stakeholders, there will be some important developments from the Turin 2006 process. To ensure maximum support for the curlers, there will be three full-time coaches in place, men's, women's and wheelchair. In addition the squads will be smaller, a maximum of eight athletes in each, to ensure athletes receive the best possible coaching. Squads will be selected in May 2008, seven months earlier than the Turin cycle, and the squad will then be reduced to five in May 2009, allowing the squads more time to compete as a team in the build up to the Games. Finally, only athletes with a recent international track record will be considered for selection.'

The BC Board is Chris Hildrey (chairman, photo above), Derek Brown (performance director), Hew Chalmers, Alan Chalmers, Mike Gillespie and Frank Duffy. Another director with responsibilites for media, communications and PR should be appointed soon following a recent advert. Chris Hildrey confirms that the British Curling website is currently under construction.

Scottish curlers currently receiving support, either in the Elite Scotland Squad or via the National Academy, are listed here.

July 25, 2007

RCCC summer camp

Judith McFarlane, the Royal Caledonian Curling Club's new development manager, took up her post on Monday, and this week is hard at work at the annual summer camp for junior curlers.

Twenty-nine young curlers, aged 12-17, are based in the Dolphin House Outdoor Education Centre in Culzean Country Park. In the mornings they receive intensive curling instruction at the Galleon Centre in Kilmarnock from Area Development Officers and invited coaches. In the afternoons, under the watchful eyes of the Dolphin Centre team of instructors, the youngsters participate in mountain biking, canoeing, abseiling and archery, amongst other activities. Evening talks and team building games complete an active schedule.

There will be a full report on the camp in the October Scottish Curler magazine.

Top: Judith McFarlane. Above: Lucy Gaudin from Kinross assesses how well her slide lines up. Below: campers and coaches at the Galleon Centre.

July 23, 2007

European Mixed in Madrid

Summer passes quickly, and the first major international curling event of the new season is just nine weeks away. Twenty-six teams will contest the European Mixed Curling Championship, September 24-29, in the Palacio de Hielo in Canillas, a suburb of Madrid. The event website is now online here.

The Dreams Palacio de Hielo is considered to be one of the best ice rinks in Europe. The modern venue is the home of the first permanent curling school in Spain, founded two years ago, and it now has more than eighty players and twelve curling teams. The arena has 3000 seats and is in the middle of a large shopping mall with cinemas and restaurants.

This will be the third time a Euro Mixed Championship has been held. The first was in Andorra two years ago and was won by Finland's Markku Uusipaavalniemi with Kirsi Nykänen, Teemu Salo and Tiina Kautonen. In Claut, Italy, last year, Tom Brewster, Jackie Lockhart, David Hay and Kim Brewster won the title for Scotland. A photo of the winners is here.

Austria, Bulgary, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Scotland, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and Wales have signed up for Madrid. Scotland's team, the winners of the Scottish Mixed Championship in Aberdeen last season, is Glen Muirhead, Eve Muirhead, Gordon Muirhead and Anna Sloan. Gordon skipped and played second stones.

The Madrid competition will be played in four sections, with Scotland in Section A alongside the Czech Republic, Latvia, Norway, France and England. The first match for the Scots will be against the Czechs at 12.30 on Tuesday, September 25.

L-R: Glen, Anna, Eve and Gordon with the Scottish Mixed Championship trophy after their success at Aberdeen on April 1.

The weekend before the Mixed Championship, September 21-23, the Madrid venue will host the Fifth Madrid International Bonspiel.

July 19, 2007

Hamiltons at Hamilton for October's Mini Tour

Now, spot the theme in today's post! The Royal Caledonian Curling Club's manager of competitions, Colin Hamilton, has posted the draw for the first Mini Tour event of the new season on the RCCC website here. The sixteen-team competition at the Lanarkshire Ice Rink, Hamilton, goes ahead October 5-7.

John Hamilton, whose team won this competition last season and went on to win the Colin Galbraith trophy as overall Mini Tour winners, is back again, and faces Lockerbie's Graeme Black, the Scottish Schools' Champion, in his first round game. Traditionally, teams from the other home countries are allowed to compete in the Mini Tour, and the Hamilton draw contains Bruce Bowyer's English and Robin Gray's Irish sides.

After Hamilton, the men's tour moves to Lockerbie (October 19-21) and the Galleon, Kilmarnock (November 23-25). A total of twenty-three teams have entered, three more than last year. A team's best performances in any two events count towards their final placings.

Eight women's teams, including Marie O'Kane's Irish side, line up for the first women's Mini Tour event, in parallel with the men at Hamilton, October 5-7. The O'Kane team face World Junior Champion Sarah Reid in their first game.

Claire Hamilton's new National Academy team are up against the experienced Sharon Stewart in their first round match.

The second and final women's Mini Tour event is at Lockerbie, October 19-21.

The photos are of John Hamilton and (no relation) Claire Hamilton. What was the theme again?

July 17, 2007

European Seniors Invitation postponed to next year

The inaugural European Seniors Invitation event at Greenacres, planned for October 10-13, has run into problems with an overcrowded domestic calendar and a clash of dates with a major Royal Club event, the Scottish Mixed Seniors at Pitlochry. The event has been postponed.

ECF President Malcolm Richardson, one of the organisers, has written to the twelve teams who have entered so far, and made the following statement:

"We are sorry to announce the postponement of the European Senior Invitation Curling Championship scheduled for Greenacres Curling Club, Scotland in October 2007. The reason for the postponement from 2007 till 2008 is due to a clash of dates in Scotland and for this reason at least, no alternative date being available. We apologise to those teams and countries who had indicated support for the event and will announce the details and scheduled dates of the 2008 event in the first half of 2008."

The event promised to be a test event for possible European Senior Championships down the line.

Greenacres has successfully hosted the Scottish Senior Championships for a number of years, and in 2005 was the venue for the World Senior Championships. An excellent set of photos from the World Seniors at Greenacres can be found on the Finnish Curling Association website here. Legacy funding from that event and the associated Women's World Championship at the Lagoon Centre, Paisley, is in place to underwrite some of the costs of staging the European Seniors Invitation for the first time.

And talking of Finland and seniors, Vierumäki will host the World Senior Curling Championships in 2008. The Sport Institute of Finland is Finland's leading training centre for top level sports and the official training and coaching centre of Finnish olympic sports. The complex, which has two ice pads, is an educational centre for sports and exercise, coaching and recreational services. The World Seniors website is now live, and has a five minute video about the venue.

July 16, 2007

Aberdeen rink still looking for development officer

The Aberdeen curling development officer position has been re-advertised. Curl Aberdeen is looking for someone for the full time position (35 hours per week). The funding partners for the post are the Royal Caledonian Curling Club, Curl Aberdeen, Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire District Council, and sportscotland.

The salary on offer is £16,000. Closing date is August 3.

More details, including job description and application form, are on the Royal Caledonian Curling Club site here.

July 14, 2007

Curl Aberdeen shortlisted for the UK's favourite Lottery Awards

The National Lottery Awards are an annual search to find the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects. These awards aim to celebrate and recognise the difference that these projects - both large and small - have made to people, places and communities all across the UK.

Twenty billion pounds have been distributed since the Lottery began in 1994. A variety of bodies are responsible for awarding National Lottery grants. The Big Lottery Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Millennium Commission, the UK Film Council and UK Sport allocate National Lottery money throughout the United Kingdom. In England the Arts Council England and Sport England distribute funds. Specific to Northern Ireland are the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Sport Council Northern Ireland, whereas in Wales the Sports Council for Wales and Arts Council of Wales distribute grants.

Scotland has three bodies that distribute funds specifically for Scottish projects: the Scottish Arts Council, Scottish Screen and sportscotland. Aberdeen's curling rink (Curl Aberdeen) received £800,000 from sportscotland to enable it to open in March 2005. The total cost of the project was £2.4 million. The successful project - many rate the rink as Scotland's best - is one of ten which has been shortlisted for the National Lottery Awards 2007 in the Best Sports Project category. Some of the ways the rink is used and a quote from manager Tom Brewster are here.

Because so many bodies distribute Lottery funding, many different types of project benefit, and hence the awards have been categorised. The categories for 2007 are: Best Arts Project; Best Education Project; Best Environment Project; Best Health Project; Best Heritage Project; Best Sports Project; The Sunday Mirror Award for Best Charity/Voluntary Project.

The first round of public voting is now underway and will last until August 3. Vote for the Curl Aberdeen award here.

The top three projects in each category will go through to the final round of public voting (which will take place August 13-31), to find the overall winner for each category. The winner of each category will win £2,000 for their project, and all the winners will be announced in a special BBC television programme, to be shown in the autumn.

It seems just yesterday that the work began to clear the site for the new Aberdeen rink. It was in fact a little more than three years ago, in April 2004. George Esson's photo is from the May 2004 Scottish Curler. The finished building is shown here.

July 13, 2007

New season draws for Royal Club events

Entries for the Royal Caledonian Curling Club's major competitions closed on June 30. Draws are being made. The numbers of teams entered for many of the events have increased from last year, particularly for the Men's and Women's Masters, the over 60s championships.

Thirty-three teams have entered for the Senior Men's Championship, up from last season. And the entry for the Bruadar Scottish Championship is also up to thirty-one teams.

The inaugural year of the Under-17 Slam was a great success. The first event of the new round of competitions has already taken place (at Perth in April, won by Michael Reid and his team) and the Slam moves to Lockerbie, September 22-23. A full complement of twenty teams line up. The draw is here.

The draw for the Scottish Mixed Seniors, at the Atholl rink, October 12-14, is now online.

On a disappointing note, only eight teams have entered the Scottish Junior Women's Championship next season. This means that there will be no need for a qualification round. Hopefully Sarah Reid's gold medals at the Worlds in Eveleth can still have a positive effect on the number of junior women playing the game in Scotland in future.

Six teams have entered the Gold League pre-qualifier, at the Dewar's Rinks, Perth, November 2-4. The draw is here. Claire Milne and Lynn Cameron (formerly of Rhona Martin's team) have a new team with Jaqui Byers and Rachael Simms, and are looking for one of the three places available in the Columba Cream Gold League proper. The other skips are Gillian Howard (former Junior Champion from 1994), Kay Adams, Claire Hamilton, Eve Muirhead and Anna Sloan.

The photo of Gillian Howard is from last season's Silver League final. Gillian played third to Alison Kinghorn, the team just missing out on automatic qualification to the Gold League. The final was won by Gail Munro's team. There's another photo of Gillian here.

July 11, 2007

English to stage Mixed Doubles Championship at Kelso

The new feature in the curling calendar next season will be Mixed Doubles events, that discipline now having a world championship - the first will be held in Vierumäki, Finland, March 9-15, 2008.

Curling Today has already flagged up the fact that the Dewar's Rinks in Perth is having a mixed doubles bonspiel on December 8. However, this will not be the first time we have the opportunity to see mixed doubles played in a Scottish rink. The English Curling Association will hold their English Mixed Doubles Championship at Kelso, the weekend of October 13-14. Eligible teams are being sought for the championship (here), with a closing date of August 31.

Scotland's representatives for the World Mixed Doubles will be decided at a Scottish Mixed Doubles Championship at Murrayfield, December 21-23. Royal Club competitions manager Colin Hamilton confirms that twenty-three teams have entered, and there is room for one more pair. Contact the Royal Club asap if you still want to play.

Canada meanwhile will not hold a mixed doubles championship at all, but will simply nominate two curlers from their mixed champion team to go to Vierumäki! Read that report on the CurlTV news blog here.

July 10, 2007

Aberdeen looks forward to 2009 European Curling Championships

It's a day for European Championship news! The Championships are set to return to Scotland in 2009 and the arrangements for the event in Aberdeen have taken another step forward with the first meeting of the new company which will be the legal vehicle charged with delivering the event.

Curling Championships (Aberdeen) Ltd is jointly owned by Curl Aberdeen and the Royal Caledonian Curling Club and its role will be to oversee the work of the Organising Committee led by George Esson. The Directors of the new company are Sheena Anderson (Curl Aberdeen), Mike Ferguson (RCCC), Ken Irons (Curl Aberdeen), Edward Johnston (Curl Aberdeen), Anne Malcolm (RCCC) with one further Director from the Royal Club still to be confirmed.

The Championships in 2009 will be staged December 5-12, 2009, at Curl Aberdeen (above) and the Beach Linx Centre, Aberdeen (below). The Championships have already attracted significant financial support from Aberdeen City Council, Event Scotland and UK Sport.

Next year, the European Curling Championships 2008, will be held in ÖRNSKÖLDSVIK, Sweden, while in December the event is in FUSSEN, Germany - see today's earlier post.

New countries enter European Curling Championships 2007

Iceland and Ukraine have entered European Curling Championships for the first time. The two countries will field men's teams at Le Gruyere European Championships in Füssen, Germany, December 1-8, 2007.

A record number of nations have entered this year. A total of fifty-six teams (33 men’s and 23 women’s) from thirty-three of the thirty-five ECF member nations will participate. The ECF website is here.

Last year, thirty men's teams took part in Basel. Andorra will compete this year again in addition to the two new countries mentioned above. The A league in 2006 was won by Andi Schwaller's Switzerland. The Czech Republic and Italy gained promotion from the B league to this year's ten-team A league.

The Irish women join the twenty-two other countries which competed last year. At Basel 2006 the A league was won by Ludmila Privivkova's Russians. Austria and Finland gained promotion from the B league and will compete in the A division this season in Fussen.

The sponsorship of the European event by Le Gruyère AOC was recently renewed.

July 09, 2007

Duddingston's Thomson Tower receives Lottery Funding for curling museum

The Thomson Tower, on Duddingston Loch in Edinburgh, was the home of the Duddingston Curling Society whose members penned the first rules of the game. It is now derelict and has lain unused for many years.

Not for much longer though!

A Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £137,500, announced today, will help restore the tower and turn it into a museum of curling.

The octagonal building, which sits in the grounds of Duddingston Kirk, was designed by William Playfair and built by Duddingston Curling Society in 1825. Fundraising for a project to restore the tower and make use of it for the benefit of the community has been ongoing for some time. Today's announcement is just reward for the work, and vision, of those involved in the project.

The Heritage Lottery Fund grant will allow the Thomson Tower to be completely restored. Its ground floor will be the curling museum, while the upper floor will be used for exhibitions and private functions. The official press release says, "The process of its restoration will be used to involve the community in the heritage on its doorstep. There will be opportunities to train in conservation skills and techniques, open days for the public to see the work as it progresses and local children will be involved in providing interpretation for the building. Paths will also be created and improved to give better access to the Thomson Tower and to Dr Neil’s Garden, in which it is situated."

Dr Neil’s Garden was created in 1965 by Andrew and Nancy Neil, two local doctors. Just two acres in size, it is now considered one of the finest small gardens in Scotland.

Commenting on the grant award, the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Manager for Scotland, Colin McLean, said, “This is a fascinating project around a tower which is steeped in history. Almost two hundred years ago it played a role in the everyday life of the local community as well as being of national significance to Scotland in the artistic and sports fields. The Heritage Lottery Fund is delighted to help make that happen again.”

Jim Baird, Chairman of Dr Neil’s Garden Trust, added, “Dr Neil’s Garden Trust is delighted the Heritage Lottery Fund has granted this award to refurbish the Thomson Tower. As the major funding partner of the project, they are ensuring this important part of our national heritage is not lost.”

Work on the project should begin this year. More funding is required, but it is hoped that this will be obtained soon. Donations may still be sent to: Thomson Tower Appeal, 4 Old Church Lane, Duddingstone Village, Edinburgh EH15 3PX.

Are you interested in the history of curling? Or does the subject turn you cold? Have your say on the Scottish Curling Forum.

July 08, 2007

Paralympic wheelchair curling coin

The Royal Canadian Mint will launch a 25-cent Paralympic wheelchair curling coin this week, one of a series to commemorate the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The new coin will be officially unveiled in Toronto on Tuesday by Ian E. Bennett, President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint, James Toccacelli, Member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Paralympic Committee, and Chris Daw, 2006 Paralympic Gold Medalist in Wheelchair Curling, representing the Canadian Curling Association.

The coin is the third of the Olympic coin series, and the first to show a Paralympic sport. It is already being sold on eBay!

The curling coin (right) was the first to be released and has been in circulation since February. Both coins were designed by Vancouver sports artist Glen Green.

July 05, 2007

Olympic curling 2014

Olympic curling in 2014 will be held in a new rink to be built in Sochi, Russia, as that country is to host the Winter Olympics for the first time. Sochi plans to build a new facility (one of many new builds for the games), which will seat 3,000 and will become a new national curling centre when the Olympics and Paralympics are over.

Initially seven cities had bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympics. In June last year this was narrowed down to three: Pyeongchang in South Korea, Salzburg in Austria, and Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi. The final vote took place at the International Olympic Committee meeting in Guatemala City yesterday. Salzburg was eliminated in the first round. In the second ballot, Sochi emerged as the winner just four votes ahead of Pyeongchang. Read the report here.

It was a second disappointment for the Koreans who had been close to winning the 2010 bid. Then Vancouver defeated Pyeongchang by three votes in the decisive ballot.

President Putin visited Guatemala City and spoke in public in English for the very first time in support of Sochi's bid. There's lots about Sochi in this blog.

World Curling Federation President Les Harrison has congratulated the Sochi bid committee, see here.

July 04, 2007

Continental Cup lineup confirmed

Curling Today has previously posted the teams for the 2007 Continental Cup of Curling. The complete rosters have been confirmed today. You can read the full details here.

New in today's press release is that former world champion and current Canadian senior champion Pat Ryan will be the captain of Team North America while Elaine Dagg-Jackson is the coach. Rhona Martin is Europe's team captain and Canadian-born Rodger Schmidt, who has coached Italy at a number of recent world women’s championships, will be the coach for Team Europe.

The European team lineups are:
Denmark: Angelina Jensen, Madeleine Dupont, Denise Dupont, Camilla Jensen
Russia: Ludmila Privivkova, Olga Jarkova, Nkeiruka Ezekh, Ekaterina Galkina
Scotland: Kelly Wood, Jackie Lockhart, Lorna Vevers, Lindsay Wood
Germany: Andy Kapp, Andy Lang, Holger Höhne, Andreas Kempf (Uli Kapp is unavailable for the event)
Scotland: David Murdoch, Ewan MacDonald, Peter Smith, Euan Byers
Switzerland: Andreas Schwaller, Ralph Stöckli, Thomas Lips, Damian Grichting

The North American team lineups are:
Canada: Kelly Scott, Jeanna Schraeder, Sasha Carter, Renee Simons
Canada: Jennifer Jones, Cathy Overton-Clapham, Jill Officer, Dawn Askin
United States: Debbie McCormick, Allison Pottinger, Nicole Joraanstad, Natalie Nicholson
Canada: Glenn Howard, Richard Hart, Brent Laing, Craig Savill
Canada: Randy Ferbey, David Nedohin, Scott Pfeifer, Marcel Rocque
United States: Todd Birr, Bill Todhunter, Greg Johnson, Kevin Birr

British Curling advertises for a director with responsibility for media matters

British Curling, the body which will select, support and prepare Britain’s curling teams for the Vancouver Olympics, has advertised for another director to join the Board, currently made up of Chris Hildrey (chairman), Derek Brown (performance director), Hew Chalmers, Alan Chalmers, Mike Gillespie and Frank Duffy, who was co-opted recently.

The new director will have responsibility for communication, media and PR. These include drafting and releasing information to British Curling members and relevant organisations; liaising with and communicating British Curling activities to all branches of the media; developing public relations, fundraising and marketing strategies.

For a detailed job description and who to contact see here.

Closing date for applications is July 27, 2007.

July 03, 2007

Curling Officer vacancy at Braehead..... and more about the CURLATHON

The appointment of Judith McFarlane to the job of Development Manager with the Royal Caledonian Curling Club has meant there is now a vacancy for a 'Curling Officer' at the Braehead rink. Manager Bruce Harley has moved quickly to advertise for Judith's replacement. The advert says:

An outstanding opportunity has arisen at Braehead Curling. We are actively seeking a creative and motivated individual to further develop and promote a thriving curling business at Braehead.

Financially aware, you will be responsible for achieving targets and will have proven ability in developing team relations. Self driven and customer focussed, this position is hands on and will suit someone with previous experience in a leisure or sports associated development role.

Good IT skills coupled with a drive to succeed are high on the priority list and you will be able to demonstrate good organisational and interpersonal abilities. The successful applicant will be commercially minded and join a team committed to promoting curling and taking the business forward at Braehead.

The position is full time, although part time would be considered depending on circumstances. Due to the nature of the role some weekend and evening work is included. A Disclosure Check at Enhance Level will be required for the successful candidate.

For a job description and application form contact:
Personnel Officer, Braehead Shopping Centre, Management Suite, Kings Inch Road, Glasgow
G51 4BN, or phone 0141 885 1441.

And while we are talking about Braehead, the draw for the North v South Curlathon, September 14-15, has been made.

The sessions are: 6pm - 9pm Friday 14 (Tartan theme); 9pm - midnight (Black & White, sponsored by Robert Wiseman Dairies); Midnight - 3am (Rock'n'Roll); 3am - 6am (Pyjamas);
6am - 9am (Movies); 9am - noon (Around The World); Noon - 3pm (Disney, for junior teams).

The 'celebrities' will be on show Saturday 3pm - 6pm. Signed up already to play are Rhona Martin's full Olympic Gold team, Jackie Lockhart's former World Champions, Sarah Reid's World Junior Champions, Hammy MacMillan and Claire Milne.

Prizegiving and ceilidh with buffet is at the Glynhill Hotel on the Saturday evening.

There is still opportunity to sign up for the Curlathon and join in the fun to raise money for the Highland Hospice and St Vincent's Hospice. More about the event is here, and details on how to get involved are here.

The photo above is of Team Winkie from the 2005 Curlathon at Inverness. Captions required!

July 01, 2007

Curling's CIRCLE: a new concept for our sport

John Minnaar heads up a small but enthusiastic group of Scottish icemakers. For some years now he has been working towards his vision of what curling rinks in Scotland could be like in the future, and how much they would cost to build and run. His ideas have now been launched. Read about the CIRCLE here.

There is a pdf file (The Circle Rink) to download. This document is part business plan, part an essay on the state of curling in Scotland, and makes interesting reading for anyone with a serious interest in the future of our sport.

Essentially, the Curling-Ice Research Centre for Leisure and Excellence is a prototype for a curling rink of the next generation. It would combine day-to-day curling with research, development, qualified education and analyses of all matters relating to the sport of curling. The Circle would be fully independent and a self-financing facility once construction was complete. The Circle would be the best curling rink in the world, where beginners, club curlers and elite squads would be equally welcome.

A four-sheeter rink, built efficiently (for less than £1,000,000) to be economic to maintain and operate, would be the working model, hopefully, for future builds.

What John is doing now is assessing the feeling out there amongst the curling community. No financially commitment is being asked for. Rather, curlers are being asked to email or write to declare their support.

Discussion opportunities are on the Scottish Curling Forum.