© Tony van Breugel
"I write children’s picture books which are fiction but I like to weave factual information or something into the story about myself and the Isle of Arran. When undertaking initial research for “Corrie’s Curling Capers” it was suggested to me that curling hasn’t ever been played on the island. With a farming community, curling being a very popular sport in Scotland and Ailsa Craig aka 'Paddy’s Milestone' being so close to Arran, I decided to dig a bit deeper. The world’s best curling stones are still made from the granite quarried at Ailsa Craig.
"Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I was delighted to discover the curling was indeed played in the 1800’s on the Isle of Arran. There are two extracts from the Glasgow Herald in 1881 reporting on curling matches played between Brodick and Lamlash rinks (teams). I was very amused to read of their 'curler’s tea of beef and greens'!
"The archivists at Arran Heritage Museum were able to find a letter sent to the Museum in December 1991 from Sheriff DB Smith in Kilmarnock.He had previously written asking for any information held about a curling pond at Stronach, Arran but there was none. A friend of Sheriff Smith had a medal that was played for by Brodick Curling Club between 1874 and 1902. He transcribed the engraving from The Challenge Medal in the hope the names might enable AHM to find out some more. A letter was found dated 29 October 1897 from a Mr Thomas Reid, Secretary of Brodick Curling Club. It was addressed to JK Ritchie, Secretary of Brodick Public Hall requesting exclusive use of the pond within the Public Hall grounds for curling purposes during the season. The sum of £3 was offered in payment for the year with a request for the company to protect the ice from skaters or other trespassers.
"The archivist mentioned the location of the pond is now Brodick Bowling Green, very close to where Brodick Hall and Arran Library are currently situated. With confirmation my story was authentic, at least in that curling was actually played on Arran, I went on write and publish “Corrie’s Curling Capers” in 2020. Corrie’s relations compete for the Challenge Medal!"
As told by Alison Page, author, resident of the Isle of Arran and curling enthusiast!
More information on visiting the area can be found here.