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Canny Scots started curling here in 1825

PHOTO Public Domain From the painting The Curlers 1835 by Sir George Harvey

Jean Furcall

Sweep! Sweep!
It has become a familiar sound through the decades as curlers across the continents enjoy the sport from “the land of the bard.”

By the 18th century curling had become a popular activity in Scotland. The literature of the era provides many records of bonspiels and curling societies. It became the national pastime.

Canada. The year is 1825.

Originally called Craig Concession, the Scotch Concession was slowly being opened up for settlement. James Davies, who had been a keen curler in Scotland, invited his neighbour, William Miller, to a game.

Being canny Scots why would they carry “blocks” to Riverfield to have a game when there was a large pond on neighbouring property? It would have been an ideal place.

Sellar’s History described the conditions faced by those early settlers: “We got along smoothly until Goundry’s rapids, when the canoe stuck fast in the rocks. I said I would go and look for help. … I met a number of men returning from a bee. One said he “ wadna gae down the creek for a dollar.” … Settlers came in so slowly that it was often difficult to get enough hands to raise a shanty. … 1825 – That was the year of the Miramichi fire. There was fire here and there around, which, besides destroying much timber, burned holes in the soil and obstructed passage in the bush by toppling over large trees.

“There were only three shanties in the concession when we went in: Robert Hunter, a carpenter, James Davies, from Kilbirnie and John Neal from Kilbarchan, and John Metcalfe.” The historic game between James Davies and William Miller was played, establishing 1825 as the founding date of Riverfield Curling Club.

Time is now approaching 2025.

It will signal celebrations as Riverfield Curling Club will mark its bicentennial.

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