I won’t be making this a regular feature unless I decide to take my site in a tabloid direction for the new season…
I have two pieces of curling news today – one good and the other not so good. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.
You’ll recall that at the RCCC’s AGM back in June it was confirmed that Scotland was bidding to host the 2016 World Men’s Curling Championship and it was announced that Edinburgh had been chosen ahead of Glasgow as the potential host city.
I have it on good authority that this bid has failed.
The last time a World Men’s was held in Scotland was at the Braehead Arena, Glasgow in 2000 – it now seems that a wait of over fifteen years until the next one is inevitable.
If I hear any more on this I will post something.
This place should be familiar to curlers everywhere.
It’s Ailsa Craig, the volcanic plug that sits in the Firth of Clyde and gives us the granite used to make curling stones.
I took the above photograph on a cruise in August 2012 – despite having passed it several times, I have never managed to photograph it with clear conditions. One day…
By the way, it’s up for sale as well.
So how does this humble island relate to a piece of curling gossip?
Well, Kays of Scotland manufacture curling stones using Ailsa Craig’s microgranite – they have exclusive harvesting rights and have been doing so for over 150 years.
The company, based in Mauchline, are also the official suppliers to the World Curling Federation.
On their website, Kays also claim to be the only company in the world making Olympic specification stones using new and not recycled granite.
As with most things curling-related in Scotland, Kays have a Canadian rival in the shape of Canada Curling Stone Co. who use granite from Trefor in Wales.
Earlier this year, malicious rumours began circulating in North America about Kays running out of granite and potentially going out of business entirely.
I understand that this is simply not true and that business is booming for Kays at the present time. As well as what my sources tell me about the company, evidence can be found on Twitter where Mark Callan (manager of Kays) paid a visit to the island with representatives from the WCF in the last fortnight. See what Mark posted here and here.
While they are no longer allowed to blast on the island, Kays have identified plenty of material in the form of boulders that can be utilised in the future to make those polished beauties we know so well.
On Canada Curling Stone’s website I suggest you take a look at the ‘Granite Types’ section. Their biased descriptions of Ailsa Craig granite compared to their favoured Trefor are plain to see.
I think it’s a shame that something so fundamental to our sport, the very equipment we use, can cause so much antagonism. Curling stones are beautiful objects in my opinion, unlike anything else in the sporting world.
Let’s hope that this dispute doesn’t spoil our game in years to come.
Photo is © Ted Edmunds/TVFTH 2013