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Curlers thumb noses at bureaucracy

Round these 'ere parts there is much excitement over the possibility of a Grand Match, when Scottish lochs freeze over to a sufficient extent to allow for a curling tournament. There have only been three of these since the war, but the ice on some of the likely lochs are now within a whisker of the seven inches required to mount the tournament. Unfortunately, it looks like there may be too much snow sitting on the ice here at Loch Leven, but the Lake of Menteith is apparently looking good.

Meanwhile, culled from this curling blog is a rather wonderful snippet about curling in Lochmaben that tells us so much about modern Britain without even trying:

Apparently it was quite a day in Lochmaben. The ice had been checked by the local council and was 7-8 inches, and solid. However, someone phoned the police to say there were lots of people on the ice and they didn't think it was safe. Anne tells the story, "Six police officers arrived but they couldn't go on ice to warn people because of health and safety so they passed the buck to the Nith rescue who came with a rescue boat but because of heath and safety they couldn't go on ice either. So the Coast Guard arrived, lights flashing! But guess what? Because of health and safety he couldn't go on the ice either! A great day was had by all.



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Reader Comments (19)

The Elfstedentocht in Netherlands will make those safety-elve's heads explode when it is held in a couple of weeks. First time since 1997.

Jan 5, 2010 at 7:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterView from the Solent

Happy New Year! Retards one and all!

Jan 5, 2010 at 7:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterthedarknight

What! Curling in Scotland? You mean that I can't plant grapes in Co Kerry and start my winery? I was so looking forward to it.

I'm going to complain to the IPCC! I will!

Jan 5, 2010 at 8:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Are there whisky stocks enough to hold a Grand match?

Jan 5, 2010 at 8:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

I remember talk of a Bonspiel on the Lake of Menteith in the late 1960's just at the height of concern about a new ice age. Not that it matters.

Jan 5, 2010 at 9:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterTonyN

Bet they didn't have a curling permit either. Music ? Need a permit. Also they weren't wearing the new Non-Paedo badges.

Think of the children ! Oh the humanity !

Jan 5, 2010 at 10:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

Actually had a bit of snow this evening. Half an inch or so. Pond's still not frozen. You must be getting "weather". On the south coast, we just get climate.

Jan 5, 2010 at 11:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Dunford


Jan 6, 2010 at 3:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard

Just when I was thinking someone from the western USA could understand this English version of English, you have to go on about your wives wanting to curl their hair on a frozen lake - some kind of hairdo tournament no less! Over here when the lake freezes we cut holes in the ice and catch fish.
Well maybe I needs some translator software? "they weren't wearing the new Non-Paedo badges." quid est?

Jan 6, 2010 at 4:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterBill S

Maybe it is time for Great Britain to rise up and claim independence- from itself.

Jan 6, 2010 at 4:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterSera

It just goes beyond parody. I note the one TV channel, after showing us snow drifts higher than their reporter in Manchester and telling us of the coldest winter in 30 years, still has to add, "but we still have global warming". The person saying this looked a bit like a deer in the headlights -- obviously following instructions from on high and hoping none of the cameramen burst out laughing.

Jan 6, 2010 at 8:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterWormsnapper

LOL! Hilarious!

Jan 6, 2010 at 10:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterNorseRaider

"Meanwhile, culled from this curling blog is a rather wonderful snippet about curling in Lochmaben that tells us so much about modern Britain without even trying."

Sad but true.

I remember the last bonspiel. 1979 I think? Or was it 1982? Or both? I used to live near Kenmore at the eastern end of Loch Tay. I remember the loch freezing over in both of those years.

Jan 6, 2010 at 11:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh


I think your photograph must be of Nith Rescue. Their stalwarts seem to be thoroughly enjoying the scene. I wonder if they accepted the nips which would certainly have been offered?

(Bill: a nip, in this context, is a small tot of whisky.)

I hope the local papers go to town on the entire farce.

Jan 6, 2010 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Wood

A second thought.

There is always a "someone" who calls the Police, who never seem to have the stones to tell their informant to grow up.

I have vague memories of "someone" reporting children with water pistols and cap guns - provoking armed response teams. Anyone out in the country with a firearm is likely to be reported, even if they are plainly bent on vermin control.

In the Autumn of 1996, the large estate adjoining Dunblane held its usual pheasant shoot. The police switchboard nearly melted down under the hysterical phone calls. The shooting, about a mile from the town, soon stopped, and I suspect that knowing the misery winter would bring, the estate had the birds' necks wrung.

The cases I am conscious of are gun-related, but I imagine the Curlers were unarmed, and readers can think of other instances.

Jan 6, 2010 at 1:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Wood

It would be funnier if it weren't so pathetic.

Ironically, here in Canada (or at least the rural parts), most of the curlers I know are on rescue crews (volunteer firemen and women). Some of the larger bonspiels are between the very competitive teams from the local fire teams.

Maybe the various "rescuers" there in Scotland should form their own teams. THAT would get them out on that dangerous ice...

Jan 6, 2010 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Goneaux

@ Bill S ... "Well maybe I needs some translator software? "they weren't wearing the new Non-Paedo badges." quid est?"
It means that no-one in England can have anything to do with children unless they have a Police Permit stating that they are not eeeeeevil sex offenders or shoplifters. If your name appears in the Criminal Records Bureau files IN ANY CONTEXT WHATSOEVER, including unsubstantiated allegations, you may NOT take your daughter and her three friends to netball practice once a week. It is a criminal offence to do so without the permit for which you have to PAY the Government!
Lunacy. Absolute lunacy.

Jan 6, 2010 at 8:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterS.G.Brown

Glad we threw the English government out. Wouldn't want to be an english slavie now. Looks like all the English with guts moved out long ago leaving the meek to inherit England.

Jan 8, 2010 at 4:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterCurtis

Considering the havoc caused by another incident in Dunblane i am not surprised the people there were worried when they heard gunshots !!

Jan 8, 2010 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterMulroystar

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