Introduction & Site Guide

The Nairn Curling Club badge on the above header shows that the club was founded in 1907 - or so it was thought. In 2006, when the Nairn Curling Club management committee became aware of the one hundredth milestone of their existence looming ever nearer, they put their collective minds together and came up with a list of “things to do” to commemorate the event.  Like a group of children writing a Christmas Letter to Santa, the list was long, and often  imaginative.  One of the aspirations was “to produce a book of the club's history”. This was one of the less original suggestions, as history books have been produced many times before by clubs with  higher profiles than Nairn.   Most of these clubs had complete sets of minute books and accounts running back into the dim and distant past. Sadly Nairn's minute books before 1939 are no more, but this was not seen as an excuse to opt out, and a five man committee was set the task.  One had a collection of old photographs amassed over the past 40 years, another was an amateur local historian, a third had written a book before ( on whisky distilling)  and the other two were added as balance, being well known for their sense of humour.

 So this motley crew set about trying to find early records of their  "1907" club.  Sources of information were identified, then carefully picked through and collated.  The Highland Council Libraries maintain a collection of the local “Nairnshire Telegraph” on microfilm, and this was an invaluable resource.  Staff at the RCCC offices kindly provided access to the library of “annuals” at Cairnie House and allowed the team to make free with their photocopier.   The Secretary of the Nairnshire Curling Association,  Wilma Kerr,  produced their old minute books, and George McArthur kindly loaned the  Ardclach club's minute books going back to 1922.  The  novel tactic of inviting some of the old curling “worthies” out for a meal and a dram proved dangerously counter-productive.  A great evening was  had, but what could be remembered the morning after was difficult to adapt for publication !  Many members past and present  contributed  anecdotes or information.   Kenny MacDonald of the Forres club sifted through his collection of 'Northern Scot' Christmas Numbers going back over a hundred years.

Much to  the surprise of the committee, this preliminary  research revealed that curling was active in Nairn long before 1907 and that  a curling club   could have celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2004.  Reference to  the original Nairn Curling Club, can be found in the 1854-1855 'Annual' of the RCCC.   It is reported that a Club from the town had been admitted into membership of the RCCC for the County of Nairnshire in July 1854, under the name of its secretary, W. D. Penny, the headmaster of Nairn Parish School. There is  no record of who its office bearers  were, apart from Mr Penny, or who constituted its membership, and the 'Annual' ceases to mention it after 1866.   As more information was unearthed, the editor-in-chief  and his researchers began to realise that informal curling was being enjoyed in the Highlands even before the  RCCC was itself  founded in 1838, and that the time when a club or society was  established should not  be confused with the date of its registration with the Royal Club. 

To save themselves further blushes, the committee decided to widen the  scope of historical research to include curling in  Nairnshire and the surrounding area to discover what had happened in the intervening years between 1854 and 1907. In the absence of their own club records, the intrepid historians have trawled through even more archived newspapers in the National Library of Scotland, read all the  annual reports of the RCCC from 1854 to 1907, and even purchased a copy of John Kerr's famous 1890 "History of Curling"

The research into the precursors of the present Nairn Curling Club has been time consuming and patchy but a story-line  emerges-.  The main problem in  compiling hundreds of newspaper articles, photographs, abstracts of the RCCC annual reports and minutes of club meetings, is how to organise and present it.  The publication of a traditional history book seemed very difficult, if not impossible. However the creation of an historical record using Google Sites provides a means of  both saving and assembling all the research material in an  orderly manner and at the same time allowing interested readers to browse through the emerging story.  The following pages of historical records are therefore set up in chronological order so that new material can be added as it becomes available. Other pages will be added to record club, province and national  competitions, biographies of  the most important characters, the Nairnshire Curling Association, and the evolution of the famous Nairn Curler's Court.

The key points of the story-line at the present time are:

  • Local Press encourages curling in Nairn.  W.D Penny secretary of a club in 1853-54.
  • Second attempt to reform the curling club in 1861 
  • Failure to find or construct a suitable curling pond -  probable cause of its demise (1865)
  • Banks of Findhorn Club (Altyre) registered in 1864, followed by Dyke CC in 1871
  • Dyke club members help to form Auldearn C.C. (1885)
  • Auldearn club registered with RCCC in 1886 and attracts a large contingent of Nairn members.
  • Nairnshire clubs founded at Glenferness( 1887), Cawdor (1893) and Ardclach (1902)
  • Development of artificial curling ponds in early 1900's - possibility of curling rink in Nairn
  • Present Nairn club re-registered with RCCC in 1907
  • Construction of Lodgehill artificial  pond in 1908
  • Nairnshire Curling Association (Nairnshire Province) established in 1908
  • Club and interclub competitions (1909 onwards)
  • Commitment to indoor curling in Aviemore and Inverness (1966 - 68) and Elgin (1994)
  • Closure of Lodgehill ponds (1974)
  • Recent events  up to  "1907" centenary
By clicking on the emphasised headings (e.g. Moray Province)  in the left margin the reader will access an overview of that section. The sub-page headings in lighter type give access to an expanded history or additional information. The sub-pages can be accessed directly but it is advised to read the overview first. 
When browsing down the time line, the reader will also see some editorial comments (in this font and colour) which add some interest or refer to prior or future events.

The pages are searchable, using the "Search this site" box at the top right of the page,

and entering a keyword relating to the search.