19th February 1895 Curling on the River Deveron

On the Southwestern edge of Banff is the site of the old Colleonard Nurseries. What surprised me is that this was also the original site for the sport of Curling in Banff. The Curling pond was opened in 1887 on the site of the old Mill of Banff distillery dam. It is described as follows “the pond is in a field at the back of the Nursery, near Mid Colleonard” It was built on the site of the dam for the Mill of Boyndie distillery. It was 150 feet by 230 feet. The work was carried out by Mr Anderson, contractor, Aberchirder, with plans drawn up by Mr Cossar, architect, Banff. The cost of the curling pond was sixty pounds. The curling pond was opened by Sheriff Hamilton-Grierson. Skating and curling were both enjoyed on the pond. There is a mention of curling and skating in 1895, taking place on the Deveron, the first time that curling had taken place on the Deveron, near to the tidal limit but a match which had been due to be played on the Deveron was moved to the Colleonard pond as a thaw made it too dangerous to be on the frozen river. Not only were they skating and curling, but also lighting a brazier to heat water for teas which were served to skaters and visitors. Skaters apparently skated up to the Bridge of Alvah. It’s difficult to imagine that ice would form on the River Deveron nowadays. There seems to have been a good network of local curling clubs who played against each other. However, in 1907 the Banff and Macduff curling clubs amalgamated to form the Banffshire Curling Club and the Duke of Fife gave a piece of land, just at the boundary of his policies, for a new curling pond. Two tarmacadam rinks were laid by an expert from Edinburgh. The new curling pond had a clubhouse and gas lights to illuminate the rinks. In its heyday the club had around fifty members. The curling rink is still intact just below the surface if you know where to look.

Colleonard and Duff House curling ponds shown in yellow 1940
1940 map showing Colleonard and Duff House curling ponds