Canadian curlers enjoy tour of south

A toast at the Kelso curling rink to Scottish-Canadian sporting links. Wonder if they had ice in their drinks? (picture by Stuart Cobley).
A toast at the Kelso curling rink to Scottish-Canadian sporting links. Wonder if they had ice in their drinks? (picture by Stuart Cobley).

A fairly rare sporting occasion was celebrated in the Borders last week as the community welcomed a group of Canadian curling enthusiasts, who were touring Scotland and contesting the Strathcona Cup.

Canada and Scotland play the match on a five-year cycle on a home and away basis, so each squad visits the other’s country only every 10 years.

A team of 40 Canadians made the trip, with 20 touring the north of Scotland and 20 exploring the south.

The latter group arrived at the Cross Keys in Kelso, before the teams were led by a piper from the Cross Keys to the Kelso Town House to a civic reception with county and community councillors.

The following day, the overseas guests travelled to Border Ice Rink in Kelso to a guard of honour by local curlers, ahead of a morning game against the Border Province.

After lunch, they played a second game in the afternoon, followed by a gala dinner, again at Border Ice Rink.

The Canadians took the Strathcona Cup home after winning by a large shots majority, but the occasion, camaraderie, respect for the fixture’s tradition, and the sporing bond between the two nations, was the most important thing. Ice rink director Bill Cleghorn said everything went according to plan and there was likely to be a lot of interest among Scots who wanted to play in Canada in 2023.