Auchinraith Curlers at Whistleberry

1890s Auchinraith Curling team shared by Gordon Cook

1890s Auchinraith Curling team shared by Gordon Cook

You may remember reading recently about my visit to the old Auchinraith Curling pond. You can read about that here.

Blantyre man Gordon Cook recently read the article and has kindly passed me this amazing photo of the Curling team at Auchinraith. Likely to be taken in the late 1890s, it shows various men playing a game of curling, on a frozen pond which was called the Whistleberry Curling pond. The pond was known to be formed in 1898 and does appear on a map of that era. Having visited the scene recently in 2014, I recognised the topography straight away and have no doubt at all, it is the same location.

The pond ran in a SE to NW direction with the Wellshaw Burn running alongside. However, the photo put the flooding mechanism firmly into context, pictured at the left. The sluice wheel would have been opened to

2014 Whistleberry Curling pond photo by P Veverka

2014 Whistleberry Curling pond photo by P Veverka

flood the field, then a section of the ice later dressed and polished to form the playing surface. The wheel in the location shown , meant that the flooding mechanism was actually fed off the nearby Parkburn, not the Wellshaw Burn which is also nearby. In this photo, just out the picture at the top right on the hill, would have stood Auchinraith House.

The flattened area now looks like this today.


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  1. I was inspired by your blog to go exploring the plantation and hunt for the curling rink myself. At the place I found a couple of features that are still present although a bit buried. As I walked down to the flat area of the rink I found I was walking on the remnants of a shallow stone stairway and I found the low wall (lintel?) which you can see in the photo surrounding the rink. It is about two bricks deep and quite a bit of it is still there, although mossy and grown over. I tried pacing the size of the contained are and estimate about 10m wide by 25-30m long (couldn’t walk a straight line down the length due to trees!).
    It was fun to combine some amateur archaeology with my walk, thanks for leading me to it.

    1. You’re welcome! Im glad the day was productive. Its somewhere i’d always hoped to go back and hunt around a little more..

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