New floodlights for Tarland Curling Club

Tarland Curling Club is 136 years old (est. 1886) and is one of Scotland’s standard bearers of traditional outdoor curling.

By Alastair Scott
Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 6:55 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 6:55 am
The floodlights are switched on for the first time (All photos: Alastair Scott)
The floodlights are switched on for the first time (All photos: Alastair Scott)

Club members dedicate many hours of voluntary labour each year to maintain a pond much bigger than for our own needs, comprising over an acre or enough for fourteen ‘sheets’ or playing surfaces.

This would enable a bonspiel - in effect a curling bonanza! - to take place with over a hundred players from clubs all over the region. Yet for any curling to take place over the dark winters we depend on our floodlights.

Over the years these had deteriorated; some didn’t work, poles had rusted and the electrical wiring needed replacing. An outside contractor quoted £24,000 for the work...far out of reach of our modest bank balance.

TCC volunteers preparing new pole foundations.

We approached the National Lottery for the maximum £10,000 Community Funding grant available. Scottish Curling supported our bid and gave valuable advice on how to frame our request as the wording is crucial.

We waited several months. No news. Then came a phonecall from the Lottery to our lead contact, Steven Yule. The caller appeared to be about to break bad news to us, that we’d been unsuccessful. But at the time Steven happened to be working in a digger at the curling pond along with two other TCC members also operating heavy machinery to dredge the pond. We think it was that moment that convinced the Lottery we were a committed and hard-working community. In November 2020 we were informed we’d been successful!

BUT, and it was a big but, because of the many applications from Covid-related projects which were being prioritised, all grants were reduced to £6000. We had thought we could reduce the total cost of the project by £12,000 or so by using voluntary labour and the loan of some machinery, yet now we had to look for even more cost-saving measures.

It required a big re-think and a more creative approach. We had a year in which to complete our project and, of course, this was a year hamstrung by lockdowns and restrictions on gatherings.

TCC members volunteered their time and local firms donated machinary

Yet we did it! Work began on August 9, 2021 and the ten new 200w LED floods atop tall street lampposts were switched on early in October. Our members put in 301 hours of voluntary labour, others gave freely of skills and expertise, vital components were begged (no borrowing or stealing, we’re glad to say!) or donated. This was an incredible achievement and a testament to the hard work and determination of our community and supporters from much further afield.

We’d like to thank everyone involved, particularly all who volunteered and our many generous donors. Chief amongst these were Malcolm Allan Housebuilders, Nicols of Skene, Serica Energy and Brian Marshall Electrical. TCC members Ed Anderson donated cable and Gordon Coutts lent us diggers and other vital machinery whenever we needed them. And huge thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund. We hope our story inspires other groups to reach out for the help they need.

TCC welcomes everyone to join our club. Contact Alastair Scott at [email protected] for more information.

The pond at the curling club with the new lights in place.