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The Sport of

The sport of curling has its origins firmly in Scotland. As the game evolved so were the curling stones provided with handles on top and given the distinctive circular shape of today. Until the 1950's most stones were hewn on Ailsa Craig and fashioned in Mauchline (Ayrshire).

Ailsa Craig
Many curling stones became famous but none more so than the East Kilbride Cheese and Sleeping Maggie. East Kilbride Cheese was cut in 1830 from a whinstone block in Thorntonhall Quarry. Weighing 70lbs, it was often used as a test of strength and also for weighing oatmeal and cheese in the village. Sleeping Maggie was a stone with a wooden handle which was found in a local pond where it had been rolled by a farmer's daughter after whom it was called.

East Kilbride had many curling ponds. The most celebrated was Mains Loch south of Mains Castle - now part of the James Hamilton Heritage Park. Until the middle of the last century the pond on Laigh Common was a favourite howff for our local curlers where the Sweet Milk Men tangled with the Sour Dook men in friendly rivalry.

East Kilbride Curling Club was founded in 1830 but practically all details of its early history have been lost. The club had some 50 members and when the ponds were bearing it was a case of down tools and off to the ice. Playing would last the while day through.

The annual subscription was sixpence (two and a half modern pence!) and apart from occasional repairs to the pond, expenses were minimal. As travelling facilities improved, games were played against Strathaven, Eaglesham and Blantyre. Affiliation with the Haremyres club took place in 1929 and one year later the club held its centenary celebrations with various events, including competitions and a dinner.

Haremyres Curling Club was founded in 1872 and was able to secure the lease of a site adjacent to Hairmyres Railway Station. The spelling of the club's name using Haremyres as the alternative to the current spelling of Hairmyres is interesting. Both are correct alternatives and mean "at the boundary of a marsh". The curling pond was 130 yards long and 140 yards wide with the shallow end at the station entrance. The water came from a small burn which entered the pond.

The first inter-club match to be recorded was with Eaglesham on February 8th 1899, when the club won by 38 shots in a four rink game. The subscription at that time was five shillings (25 modern pence).

In 1908, Crossmyloof Ice Rink opened and the club agreed to enter a rink in the ice rink championship. (Crossmyloof rink, next to the Crossmyloof railway station, was closed and demolished in the early 1990's, a Safeway supermarket now standing on the site).

Lanark County Council in 1919 acquired Hairmyres Estates to build a hospital and it was agreed that the club would have the use of the pond on the understanding that "patients residing at the Institution, also other persons authorised by the Council" could use the curling pond.

The amalgamation with the East Kilbride club took place on September 8th 1929 and the combined club became Scottish club champions in 1931-32 with Tom Neilson as skip.

During the 1930's the Hairmyres pond fell into disuse and all games were played at Crossmyloof. However in 1930 Crossmyloof was closed as a result of the war and no play was possible until 1946. In later years the club moved to Hamilton Ice Rink and in 1972 a centenary dinner was held under President Jim Gracie in the Ballerup Hall, East Kilbride, to celebrate Haremyres Curling Club centenary.

The sport of curling in the past was played on rough ice outdoors. The roaring noise of the stones travelling over the black ice gave the sport its other name - the roaring game.

From its earliest origins the game has had a very significant impact in East Kilbride and continues in popularity to this day.

Click here
for the website of the
East Kilbride and Haremyres Curling Club


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