Curling has long been Scotland’s traditional winter sport, with bonspiels played outdoors whenever ponds froze over. These days, curling is an indoor sport, which can be played by just about anyone, including those with wheelchairs. It’s a very inclusive sport, with a long history and its own etiquette. Curl Aberdeen offers six curling lanes and has around 700 members aged eight upwards.
At first sight, curling appears to be a cross between lawn bowls and particularly vigorous housework. Two teams of four take turns to slide polished granite stones, which each weigh around 20 kilogrammes, towards the centre of the house – a target at the far end of the rink – while team members speed the stone’s passage with brushes. It’s a game that combines physical ability, a sense of aim and control, with the strategic thinking and deviousness of croquet. It’s easy to pick up the basics and surprisingly good fun.
The good thing is that you don’t need to be a youngster or superfit and you’ll improve quickly. All you need is a pair of rubber-soled trainers and some warm, loose clothing to get started. Curling’s a friendly and very social sport, which welcomes beginners. Curl Aberdeen, just off the Lang Stracht, offers taster sessions and beginners classes, and you can also learn in Forfar, Elgin or Dundee. You’ll find useful information about the basics and taster sessions at trycurling.com or visit curl-aberdeen.co.uk to book a taster session on a Sunday. These cost just £3 per person or you can sign up for a four week course for beginners for £40. There are courses starting in January and February.