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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

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