Curling is a traditional Scottish winter sport which has a season that runs from October through to April. The game was founded in Scotland and for two thirds of the nineteenth century it was 'the' Scottish sport. The first recorded date that curling was played is 1541 when notary John McQuhin wrote about a challenge of throwing stones across a frozen pond at Paisley Abbott between a monk and a relative of the Abbott. Nowadays the game is played not only in Scotland but has been exported to many other cold countries.
Originally curling was played on lochs and naturally built ponds but the ice did not always materialise during the winter and therefore with the popularity of curling, a demand was there to be able to compete in an indoor arena where the ice is guaranteed. There are now 26 ice rinks in Scotland where the game can be enjoyed. The majority of ice rinks are located across the central belt of Scotland with many being found around Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling, Perth and Dundee areas.
In the middle of November, Stirling hosts the Priestfield Cup, The British Open during the first week of February, and the Ladies British Open during the first week of March. Stirling is close to many areas such as Bridge of Allan, Kippen, Dunblane, and Callander where many self catering holiday homes are available to rent if you want to watch the curling competitions.
Perth Dewars Ice Rink hosts the European play offs at the end of October, the Perth Masters during the second week of January, the Scottish Mens qualifying play downs the third week of January and again the last week in January, the Scottish Junior Finals in the second week of February, and the Scottish Mens and Ladies Finals the third week of February. Perth is surrounded by some delightful small towns and villages such as Crieff, Muthill, Dunkeld and Aberfeldy where holiday cottages to let are within easy reach of the ice rink.
The National Wheelchair Pairs is held in Braehead, Glasgow, the first week in November. Braehead also holds the Glynhill Ladies International during the third week of January, the Ladies Open in the first week of February, the Junior Challenge in the second week of February, the Friendship Trophy Wheelchair Finals the first week of March, and the Open Mixed Doubles at the end of March. Braehead is located close to Glasgow airport on the M8 motorway which provides easy access to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs to the North and Ayrshire to the South where there is a vast range of holiday accommodation to rent in picturesque surroundings.
The ice rink at Murrayfield, Edinburgh, hosts the Edinburgh International in the last week of November as well as the Scottish Mixed Doubles the week before Christmas, both of which are well respected events on the curling calendar. Whether it is City Centre self catered accommodation you require, sea views or countryside, Edinburgh has it all. There is an excellent choice of holiday lets at your disposal whilst watching or playing in the tournaments.
Aberdeen is also a major host to some of the most important events on the curling schedule, hosting events such as: The Scottish Ladies at the end of November, Scottish mens and juniors qualifying events at the beginning of December and Middle of January respectively and finally the Scottish Mixed finals at the end of March. Deeside has a variety of self catered holiday lets available and all are a short distance from Aberdeen ice rink.
The Royal Caledonian Curling Club is the governing body for curling. A bonspiel is a curling tournament, traditionally held outdoors on a frozen freshwater loch, but sadly outdoor bonspiels are now very rare in Scotland due to climate change as most lochs which used to host bonspiels now rarely freeze over to the required thickness of ice. The Lake of Menteith is the venue of Scotland's most famous bonspiel, with the Grand Match played on the lake between curlers from Highland and Lowland Scotland. The last bonspiel took place there in 1979 with over a thousand competitors on the ice. When Scotland won the gold medal at the 2002 Olympic Games the sport achieved an even higher profile throughout the UK and Scottish curling received a huge boost in popularity.