Curling at North West Castle
North West Castle has its own unique character!
"North West Castle is the first hotel, not just in Scotland, but in the world to have its own indoor curling rink." The rink, known as Stranraer Ice Rink is famous among curlers and attracts visiting teams from all over the globe for major curling competitions. In addition to these, almost every weekend throughout the winter months (Oct - April), the rink hosts sponsored mixed curling weekends open to all curlers from beginner level upwards. These are extremely popular full board weekends in which four person teams (known as rinks) compete against each other not only to win the prize for that weekend, but also for a place in the final weekend competition - The Dalrymple Cup.
Curling is a sport for all – enjoyed by young and not so young alike. It’s also very accessible to many people with disabilities. Over the years, Stranraer Ice Rink has produced many home grown curlers who have gone on to achieve success at Scottish, European and World level, including the Winter Olympics. It has a thriving junior section that is currently enjoying great success in the Scottish Junior Boys & Girls Championships.
The hotel’s Alpine Restaurant looks out over the ice rink and is open to serve a la carte meals to curlers, visitors and residents during the curling season from October to April. The viewing lounge and bar have that great friendly buzzing atmosphere that is traditionally associated with the ‘roarin game’ of curling, and serve a wide range of snacks throughout the day.
A little bit of history...
Curling was invented in medieval Scotland, with the first written reference to a contest using stones on ice coming from the records of Paisley Abbey, Renfrewshire, in February 1541. In the early history of curling, the playing stones were simply flat-bottomed river stones, which were of inconsistent size, shape and smoothness.
Unlike today, the thrower had little control over the 'curl' or velocity and relied more on luck than on precision, skill and strategy. Outdoor curling was very popular in Scotland between the 16th and 19th centuries because the climate provided good ice conditions every winter.
Scotland is home to the international governing body for curling, the World Curling Federation, Perth, which originated as a committee of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club, the mother club of curling.
The granite for the stones comes from two sources: Ailsa Craig, an island off the Ayrshire coast of Scotland, and the Trefor Granite Quarry in Wales. Ailsa Craig is the traditional source and produces two types of granite, Blue Hone and Ailsa Craig Common Green.