July 15, 2008

Pitlochry no more

I got home tonight to find the sad news waiting in my email. The Atholl Curling Rink in Pitlochry has closed for good. The announcement is on the Royal Club website here.

It says, "It is with deep regret that the RCCC has to advise that Atholl Curling Rink will close forthwith and the building will be placed on the market. The decision to close the rink was forced upon the Board of Directors at Atholl Curling rink due to an increase in costs and no corresponding increase in income." There are quotes from Jan Conacher, the rink manager, and Eve Muirhead, World Junior Champion, whose home rink it was.

The news, sudden though it may be, will be no surprise to those who know the rink. The curlers and staff there have battled on for the last few years under difficult circumstances. One more season seemed to be in the offing, but today's news means the end for the little rink built inside what was at one time the Pitlochry Festival Theatre. It opened in 1982.

I visited the rink three times last season, for the Scottish Mixed Seniors, the U-17, and the Henderson Bishop. You can see some pics of the curling at the rink here, and here. I liked the place enormously. I am really sad tonight that I won't be going there again, and my thoughts are with those that I know at the rink who have always warmly welcomed me on my visits. I share their disappointment, and I would think you will too.

Top: The front of the rink on December 29 last year. Above: The side of the rink in the setting sun of a winter's day last year. Pics by Bob.


TCN said...

What's to become of trophies etc.? Also Muirhead's championship banners?

Anonymous said...

Really sad to hear this. Atholl has produced more than its fair share of champions! A lot of curlers will be lost as I don't think many will travel to Perth to play regularly.
Always a friendly welcome by Jan, Peter and all the staff, and a great cup of coffee was guaranteed!

Anonymous said...

Muirhead's championships banner from America last year is in Perth Ice Rink. And so far this year the team are yet to decide where their one from Sweden will go.