Upcoming Events

  • Website last updated 2-10-21
  • 4-12-21 @ 12.45 Province Pairs Competition
  • 9-1-22 @ 14.30 Province Knockout round 1a
  • 30-1-22 @ 16.45 Province Knockout round 1b
  • 13-2-22 @ 14.30 Province Knockout Semi-Final
  • 13-2-22 @ 16.45 Province Knockout Final
  • 4-3-22 @ 12.15 Province Bonspiel

Monday, 29 January 2018

EL Knockout 17/18

The semi finals of the knock-out with Athelstaneford playing East Linton and Yester up against Dirleton looked, according to the corresponding score cards, looked one-sided affairs.  The reality was however something slightly different.  Both games turned on a couple of conclusive ends.  Never the less, the scores on the cards record victories by Athelstaneford (12-2) and Yester (13-4). 
The final was between Athelstaneford (skipped by an injured Johnny Shedden with 3rd Shelagh Main, 2nd Katherine Golding and lead Alex Kerr) and a strong Yester side.  This also rested on one decisive end. After a close opening 2 ends the score was 1-1 but the 3rd end proved the major turning point with Yester picking up a score of 7 which came out of the blue, as much as a 7 can ! The following 3 ends saw Yester score a further 2 shots and Athelstaneford managing 4 but the match was brought to an early finish after the 6th end with score at 10-5 in Yester’s favour. 
Well done to the Yester team of skip Bill Gray, 3rd Sandy Stewart, 2nd Balfour Stewart and lead Annie Fleming for winning this year’s Province Knock-out trophy. The team proved their abilities to score well with the 7 in the final following a 6 in their semi-final, ends which ultimately gave them comfortable leads to defend. They will have the opportunity to now go forward and represent East Lothian at the National Province Championships in November.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Flying the Flag for East Lothian (Strathcona)

Scotland’s national flag, the Saltire or St Andrew’s Cross, is said to be the oldest flag in Europe and the Commonwealth, originated in a battle fought in East Lothian in the Dark Ages.
It is in Athelstaneford, East Lothian, that we find the Birthplace of Scotland’s Flag. Set up in 1984, the Scottish Flag Trust maintains the Saltire Memorial within Athelstaneford churchyard and it is there that Saltires are flown permanently.

On Monday 15th January, the Lord Provost of East Lothian presented a Saltire to Dave Munro,
President of East Lothian Province of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club. Also present were curlers representing the 8 local curling clubs of the Province.
On behalf of the council and the Scottish Flag Trust the Lord Provost was delighted to present the flag highlighting that it had been flying at Athelstaneford until earlier this month. It will now be presented to the visiting Canadian curlers when they play for the Strathcona Cup, during the concluding stages in Edinburgh on 31st January.
Dave Munro thanked the Provost and the Scottish Flag Trust for this wonderful gesture. The flag will be presented to the Canadians on 31st January, during their visit to Edinburgh to compete for the Strathcona Cup. Dave is certain that it will be very well received particularly since its origin is East Lothian, a region that has contributed so much to the history and development of curling.
Dave welcomed the council’s thoughtfulness on behalf of the wider curling community as the sport rarely gets the type of exposure it deserves. He also acknowledged the efforts of the 8 local clubs and said they “participate very effectively, both competitively and socially, at levels from club leagues, through Province competitions all the way to National level and, on the odd occasion, international competition”.
In closing, he said, “as a Strathcona curler I am extremely aware of how well this presentation will be received by the Canadian team. I was greatly honoured and privileged to be selected to curl for Scotland on the 2013 tour as, I’m sure, were John Shedden, Graeme Maguire and Morgan Nicoll, and every Canadian will be feeling the same ... to compete for such a grand and historic trophy as the Strathcona Cup is even more special.”
Provost John McMillan said: “It was a privilege to meet some of our elite East Lothian curlers and to present the flag to them. Of course, I wish both nations well in the forthcoming competition but I sincerely hope our Scottish province teams, and particularly East Lothian of course, do us proud! It’s been fascinating to hear about the strong links between Scotland and Canada and in particular in relation to the sport of curling, which is celebrated in this competition.”
About the Strathcona Cup Tour
The Strathcona Cup is the grandest and likely the most valuable trophy in curling, having been specially commissioned by Lord Strathcona for the first fixture in 1902. This year’s event will come to its climax in Edinburgh in January.
A good-natured battle between two of the world’s leading curling nations. It’s a century-old competition which only comes around every five years. This time it’s Scotland’s turn to host 40 Canadian Curlers playing 20 games against 80 Scots at the Murrayfield Curling Rink.
About Curling in East Lothian
Curling is renowned world-wide for its proud history, traditions and its strong sporting friendships.
The East Lothian Province of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club has 8 clubs – Aberlady, Athelstaneford, Dirleton, East Linton, Haddington, Markle Outdoor Curling Soc., North Berwick Doocot, and Yester.
Following our experience during the British Team’s success at Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics we expect a huge influx of interest in the sport during January and February this year with the Strathcona Cup and Winter Olympics. 

Robert Robertson

Province Bonspiel 2018

A slightly smaller field of 10 teams were mustered at Murrayfield for the annual bonspiel which was held in the usual good spirits.  Despite a 'blue light' injury to Pam Clark, Vice-President of Aberlady during the first game (She was released from hospital that night and hopes to be back on the ice with her new scalp staples next week!) the first round was keenly contested.  The defending champions, Haddington 1, started off with a peel against the remnants of the Aberlady team but it was Haddington 2 that went into pole position with a score of +5.
l-r  Richard Taylor, Ali Harvey, Willie Kerr, Dave Munro (skip)
After a break for soup and sandwiches, they took to the ice with the top billed match being the two leaders, Haddington 2 and Athelstaneford 1 (on a score of +4).  Haddington got off to a great start and looked 'nailed in' for the overall win until in the final end the wheels came off the bus and Athelstaneford bounced back with a 4. This was still not enough to derail Haddington 2.
We therefore issue our congratulations to Haddington 2 and, over post match drinks, watched President Dave Munro present himself and his team the ELCO Cup and associated silverware.
Congratulations are also due to Yester 1 who came in 3 shots behind for second place and an extremely creditable third place went to the 3 man Aberlady team, who were a further 1 shot behind.

Strathcona Cup - part 2

A Message (and history) from a 2003 tourist :

You are halfway through your tour. Bonds have been made; characters sized up. You are playing for the Strathcona Cup, a trophy that dates back to the very early 1900s, to the very first tour that the Canadians made to “the shores of Auld Scotia” back in 1909.
Team Canada

It is worth reflecting on the trophy for a second. It was presented to the Royal Club for competition between the Canadians and the Scots by Sir Donald Alexander Smith, 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal, a Scotsman who had a foot in both camps, for he was the Governor General of Canada and spent many years living on the other side of the pond.

Team Mouat and 'The Cup' meet the tourists
Let a writer of the time describe the cup. “To this great arbitration (the test matches during the 1909 tour) keen zest was added by the presentation of the noble President, Lord Strathcona, of a handsome Challenge Cup …………. and which it would be averred is without a superior among curling trophies at home and abroad. This splendid trophy, which was selected in competition from a number of designs, is cup shape in form, with two handles. It measures about 20 inches in height and 14 and a half inches in diameter. The decoration, which is chiefly Celtic in character, is artistically applied. A band of Runic entwined work and circles the upper part, and is continued on the handles, whilst round the top is the wording in applied letters: ‘Presented by Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal to the Royal Caledonian Curling Club’. On the silver octagonal base of eight panels there are representations of a Scottish curling scene, a Canadian curling scene, and also views of Edinburgh and Stirling castles. Additionally other panels show a beaver, a maple tree and a scotch fur with a thistle in the foreground. Two panels have been reserved to inscribe the winners (sic) names and the other the inscription, which coupled with the inscription that the rim of the cup reads “Presented by Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal to The Royal Caledonian Curling Club to Commemorate His Presidency of the Club and of the First Visit of a Canadian Curling Team to Scotland, January 1909”.

To the best of the author’s knowledge, it has never travelled furth of Scotland, being considered too valuable an heirloom to escape the vaults of the venerable Edinburgh jewellers, Hamilton and Inches, save for the odd local foray when the Canadians come a-calling every decade or so. It is a magnificent trophy.

The 2018 Canadian tour has split in two with half going north and the other half going south. There will be daily contact between the two tour captains each anxiously awaiting the progress of the other and together totting up the scores of the day’s play and adding them to the cumulative tour totals. Ends matter not a jot! Individual game results are immaterial, so the number of games won comes under the heading “Not a Tittle”! The competition is simple and the winner of the cup is the country that scores the higher cumulative number of shots in their matches. When I was on the tour to Canada in 2003, we had a simple philosophy in our foursome – a philosophy that we eventually got the rest of the east tour (when we visited Canada, half the tour went west and the other half east) to adopt. It went something like this: win big; lose small!

Some of this .......
Our issue was simple; the competition was hard-fought and close and the result was in doubt right up
until the last week or so, so every shot counted and “heroic” losses by ten shots or more were to be discouraged at all costs! This resulted in some odd games, none more so than when we found ourselves up against the local hot-shots – soon to go on to represent their club at the province playdowns – deep into the tour. We quickly realised that we were onto a hiding to nothing if we didn’t batten down the hatches quickly, so we were prepared to get out of jail with a three-shot beating, rather than go down big and threaten the chances of an overall victory in the competition. We took the loss on the chin and hit for home from about the third end. The opposition rink wondered what was happening!

.........and a lot of this !
All the games are played in a spirit of great conviviality and each club seemed determined to outdo its predecessors in the scale of the welcome and hospitality put on for the visitors. The 2018 Canadians have been sensible though; they have insisted on the odd “off” day, when curling can be forgotten and the whole team can enjoy a spot of extra-curricular activity. Thus, they have found time to be feted in Glasgow’s magnificent city chambers, to visit local attractions and generally to woo the locals – and not just the curlers. They have made friends wherever they have gone – another touring tradition which, I am glad to say, lives on.

Who will win? Well, the answer is really very simple. Everyone wins! Tourists get to see a new country and in some depth; they get to curl on different ice, in different venues and against different people; they make friends – sometimes for life. For the hosts, they meet new people; they wonder at the standard of the curling; they are introduced to something new and different in this great sport of ours. As to the competition itself – and here I speak only for myself – I think it right and proper that the visiting team wins the cup, but only by a small margin and that the result is in doubt until the last couple of days! It pains me a bit to say it, but – Go Canada, Go!

Robin Copland 

Finally what it means to those left behind in Canada

Friday, 12 January 2018

Strathcona Cup 2018 - An Invitation

Strathcona Cup Canadian Tour to Scotland 2018

The Canadians are coming!

In January the Canadian Strathcona Cup Team arrive in Scotland to play for the Strathcona Cup, the oldest trophy in International Curling.
It is the grandest and likely the most valuable trophy in curling. It rarely leaves the vaults. It was specially commissioned by Lord Strathcona for the first Canadian tour to Scotland in 1909. (for more info and photos go to :- strathconacup100.ca ).
As a young man of 18, Donald Smith, (later to become Lord Strathcona) set out from Forres to work for the Hudson Bay Company eventually rising to the top. He made his fortune in trading, banking and investment and was a major investor in the Canadian Pacific Railway. He is famous for hammering in the last golden spike on completion of the transcontinental railway in 1855 at Craigellachie, B.C. He became an MP in the Canadian Government and was instrumental in forming the ‘Mounties’. Latterly he was appointed as the High Commissioner for Canada to Great Britain and entered the House of Lords as Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal.
His handsome trophy is all about bringing together the Scots who developed the game and the Canadians who have made curling one of their National sports.
It is unique in that it is a tour played Nationwide over a number of weeks where curlers of both countries have the opportunity to represent their country in the spirit and camaraderie that is the essence of the game.
It all started in 1902 when the RCCC decided to accept a long standing invitation to send a team of Scottish Curlers to Canada to further the special relationship of the international curling fraternity. A team of 22 worthy Scottish Curlers were duly chosen from the four Curling Areas of Scotland. Taking their own stones with them, they set out to play in January 1903 on a 2 month tour, including ocean and rail travel, from Halifax to Winnipeg, ending in a mini tour to the USA from Minneapolis to New York.
Such was the effusive praise from the Canadians of the success of this Tour, the RCCC invited the Canadians to send a team to Scotland and that such a Tour should coincide with the year that Lord Strathcona, with his unique honourable status in both countries, was the RCCC President in 1909. The Canadians sent curlers from every Province in the country, even one from Dawson City in the Yukon who started his journey to Scotland on a sled!

The enthusiasm for this event has carried on over the years and is now played for every 5 years alternating between Scotland and Canada. Every point in every game counts and is recorded, so competition is fierce right to the last stone played by every rink. Pride is very much at stake. Scotland won on the last Tour to Canada in 2013 by 2876 shots to 2621, to even it up at 11 matches all since 1903!
The Canadians arrive at Murrayfield on 30th January to play their final games over 4 days against teams selected to represent their Provinces so these matches may be crucial to the overall result.
Even If you are not one of the 80 Edinburgh Area curlers selected to challenge for the Cup this time, please come along to welcome the Canadians and give your support on any of the days from 30th January to 2nd February.