The Tears of a Clown

Now if there's a smile upon my face…

The Scots have found something else to do with their ice apart from putting it in drinks!

There have been high hopes that outdoor curling will return to these shores. Up at The Lake of Mentieth near Stirling in Scoltnad it has been around -16c aparently with high hopes for a big curling bonspiel. Unfortunately it has had to be cancelled though due to safety fears.

Unfortunately too, tragedy has struck in Leicestershire with three men going through the ice on a lake with a resulant two fatalities.

I think it’s something of a thrill and a very novel thing for people in this country nowadays that it feels very tempting to go and explore. Things seem different here now or maybe my memory is playing tricks, as it felt like when I was a lad, my pals and I would regularly walk across local ponds and the like. I’m sure it’s not as often as I seem to remember but it wasn’t a rarity.


January 9, 2010 - Posted by | Ripping Yarns | , ,


  1. Yes, was really disappointed it didn’t go ahead, but paid a visit to the Lake during the week

    People made an ice hockey pitch on Inverleith Pond today, but you wouldn’t catch me on it as it was a mild 2 degrees and probably not that far from cracking

    Comment by Alison | January 9, 2010

  2. Great stuff Alison! Nice article.

    Love playing hockey outdoors but like you I don’t think I’d risk that! I’m usek to lakes with a couple of feet of ice!

    Comment by Stuart | January 9, 2010

  3. Things are going a bit better in East Anglia I see:

    A friend of mine in Cambridge went skating the last time it froze in 97 (referred to in the article). The area in question is known as the Ouse washes – it’s a huge area between two channels of the River Great Ouse (known as the Bedford Levels) which actually run higher than the ground in between. The area is used as a flood plain – deliberately flooded every winter to ease pressure on the water channels. (See In the winter the train route to Peterborogh from Cambridge seems to run through an enormous lake. Of course the water level is very shallow – barely a couple of feet all over – so it freezes well, and safely. These skating meets used to be much more common, but are pretty rare these days.

    Comment by Fraser | January 10, 2010

  4. Oh yes, note the hockey content on the Guardian photos Stu.

    And I was interested to see on Alison’s link a photo of a curling match in New Zealand. Way down in Dunedin no doubt – bit far away from me unfortunately. I played a bit of curling when I was at school in Edinburgh and it would be nice to try it again one day.

    Comment by Fraser | January 10, 2010

  5. And there’s more – Castle Semple Loch seems to have provided a venue for some hockey too:

    Comment by Fraser | January 11, 2010

  6. Excellent stuff, thanks for the links, Fraser. I’ve always been intrigued by the skating on the Fens. I’ve never tried curling but figured it would be one game I’d take up if I ever re-settled in Canada. Of course our home town is largely responsible for the game’s origins.

    The first time I ever played hockey on a frozen lake (Wabaman Lake in Alberta) I had a reservation or two about my safety. This was quickly allayed when a truck drove past me on the ice! A marvellous experience that first time was as the ice had frozen very quickly leaving it as smooth as glass. Fish were visible swimming around underneath a couple of feet of ice.

    Comment by Stuart | January 11, 2010

  7. Another nice bit of video on the Gaurdian website about skating races in the fens:

    Comment by Fraser | January 14, 2010

  8. Another bit about fen skating on the Beeb: including the interesting claim that ice hockey actually began there. Never heard that one before – must google it up…

    Comment by Fraser | January 19, 2010

  9. Excellent link, thanks, Fraser. Ice hockey is claimed by many places in the world, even Scotland has a shout! I’ve a feeling it’s origins are way back further than most people generally think.

    Comment by Stuart | January 19, 2010

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