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Bēhance

"The Curling Pond"

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  • It is thought that the winter sport of Curling originated in Scotland early in the 15oo's. A leisurely and sociable game played on frozen ponds and lochs through out Scotland it has been referred to as "Chess on Ice" and as also know as "the roaring game' due to the wonderful sound the curling stone makes as it rumbles along the rough ice surface. The sport was officially designated an Olympic sport since 1998, although earlier Olympics Curling events in the 1920's have now been recognised officially, rather than being considered a demonstration event.

    The river valley of Strathendrick, found some twenty miles north of Glasgow is the home to the Strathendrick Curling Club. Established in the winter of 1846 by keen locals that came from surrounding villages the club these days also use indoor rink to play matches on. Somewhat like the charm of fishing, one never knows from year to year whether the conditions will be persistently cold enough for ice to form on the water to a suffiicient depth to enable the safe playing of the outdoor sport.

    Drumore Pond is situated about a mile west of the village of Killearn and is the site of an old brick works that has long since disappeared. It is likely that the brick of the curling hut, somewhat large than contemporary bricks came from this same brickworks. The pond is based on a clay bed and is surrounded by an eroding bank with trees these days encroaching upon the water. Without constant management over time the pond would silt up and become a bog with grasses and perhaps in time peat.

    Over the last few years renovation work has been carried out on the pond's curling hut and the pond itself has been in part cleared of mud that has silted up. A sluice gate sits on the south side of the pond that regulates the water level, ensuring that the water never becomes too deep to ensure that ice has the best chance of form in cold winter. 

    This collection of photographs is a work in progress, and seeks to record the life of the pond, when not used for curling and at different times of the year. As the water level constantly changes due to man's intervention or natures offerings the mood of the pond is also ephemeral in nature, not merely due to season but due to management. I find it interesting to observe the constant desire of nature to harness and take control of the surrounding area and wrestle control away from man. From time to time the water level is lowered in summer to allow maintenance and the cutting of fast growing reeds, that will cause problems during the winter for the manufacture of good quality ice.

    Whilst sporadically the pond is the site of a ritualistic and humorous winter sports gathering, for much of the year it the water hole of deer and the nesting site of duck. A place of peace and tranquility in contrast to the noisy and jovial environment of the "roaring game". Long may this continue.