2016 was a particularly special year for a curling club which once called Falkirk home – Kilsyth Curling Club has just celebrated a remarkable 300th anniversary.
The club, founded in 1716, is regarded in many quarters as the oldest club in the world. And it is still going strong today.
Curling was widely played throughout the lowlands of Scotland in the 18th century and the club had a close association with the Colzium Estate, which had a specially made curling pond and a 17th century icehouse.
For most of the club’s first 250 years, curling matches would have been played outdoors during extended periods of cold weather. Most Scottish communities had their own curling ponds and there were five or six in and around Kilsyth. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the sport moved indoors and Kilsyth began competing in leagues at Falkirk Ice Rink.
Curling clubs are often made up of family members and close friends and Kilsyth is no different. Many current members have relations whose fathers’ or grandparents’ names appear in the records. In 1975 a separate Kilsyth Ladies’ Club was formed.
Following the closure of Falkirk Ice Rink in 1977, the club moved to Crossmyloof in Glasgow. But many local curlers felt that they should try and build a new ice rink.
And when plans were drawn up for the construction of a new facility at Williamfield in Stirling, Kilsyth Curling Club and Kilsyth Ladies’ Curling Club played a large part in making it a reality, many members contributing by buying shares and debentures. In 2009 the club moved again to The Peak, where ‘Try Curling’ and ‘Virtual Club’ initiatives have been particularly successful, introducing more than 200 people to the sport in the last two years.
In season 2014/15 the club shed its male-only club status and welcomed lady members for the first time.
And as it enters its fourth century this historic club continues to go from strength to strength.