Curling in the UK
Curling has a long tradition in the UK and it continues to be played and enjoyed throughout the country. There are, however, huge differences between different parts of UK, especially between Scotland and the rest of Britain. But considering that the sport was born in Scotland, it isn’t surprising that Scotland continues to dominate British curling when it comes to both achievements and opportunities to enjoy the sport.
Curling in Scotland
The Scots have been enjoying the sport of curling for more than five centuries. The oldest physical evidence, a stone that was found on the bottom of a dried pond at Dunblane, dates to the early 16th century, while written records mention a game that was played with stones on ice a few decades later. However, it is believed that curling was played in Scotland at least in the 14th century. Over the following centuries, the sport continued to change and evolve but this didn’t have any effect on its popularity. On the contrary, its popularity only continued to grow not only in Scotland but in other parts of Britain as well.
Curling in England
According to written records, curling was first played in north England in the late 18th century when a match was played between the Border Counties and England. The records also mention that a group of Scots playing the game on an icy canal in north London in the early 19th century attracted such a huge crowd that they were forced to stop with the game due to the risk of ice breaking.
The first curling club in England was established in Leeds in 1820. Soon, clubs were formed elsewhere and before the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, there were over 35 curling clubs in northern England alone. Also, in 1877 Manchester hosted the world’s first curling match that was played on artificial ice. But according to the English Curling Association, England seriously lags behind Scotland when it comes to curling rinks.
Curling in Wales
Curling in Wales isn’t as popular as in Scotland and England, while the first curling match was played only in 1973 on ice rink at the Deeside Leisure Centre which was at the time the only curling arena in the UK outside Scotland. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, however, interest in the sport increased dramatically and in 2008, Wales won gold medal at the European Curling Championships in mixed and wheelchair.