Nostalgia: Bute curlers’ first County Cup clash

Members of Bute, Millport and Arran Curling Clubs who took part in the inaugural County Club competition on March 28, 1934, at Crossmyloof Ice Rink. A rink from Millport Curling Club, skipped by William Birnie, won the competition. Susan Forrest, current secretary of Millport CC, can identify her grandfather in the 1934 picture.
Members of Bute, Millport and Arran Curling Clubs who took part in the inaugural County Club competition on March 28, 1934, at Crossmyloof Ice Rink. A rink from Millport Curling Club, skipped by William Birnie, won the competition. Susan Forrest, current secretary of Millport CC, can identify her grandfather in the 1934 picture.

For this week’s trip down memory lane we wind the clock back a little further than usual, and a picture taken at the first playing of the County Cup curling competition between Bute, Arran and Millport.

The three clubs met for the first time at Crossmyloof ice rink on the south side of Glasgow on March 28, 1934 to compete for the Bute County Curling Challenge Cup.

The minute book of Bute Curling Club includes the following report from January 16 of that same year: “Major Hicks submitted a letter from Major Colin MacRae with regard to a Competition for a Cup presented by Lady Margaret MacRae and Major MacRae of Feorlinn, played on the K/O principle, in which two Rinks from each of the islands Arran, Bute and Cumbrae would take part.

“The game to take place at Crossmyloof on Wednesday 28th March where the Ice had been booked for three Rinks in the forenoon and two Rinks in the afternoon. The Hon. Secy to act as Match Secretary and make the necessary arrangements. The Council approved.”

The club’s council meeting on March 20 appointed William Meldrum and Malcolm Buchanan as the two Bute skips, and left it to each man to complete his own rink.

For an account of the match itself we turn to the minute book of Millport Curling Club and the following report for March 28.

“The first game for the County Cup presented by Major and Lady Margaret MacRae was played on this date at Crossmyloof Ice Rink. Two rinks from Arran, Bute and Millport took part, the game was played on the knockout system.

“First round: W. Meldrum (Bute) 8, Wm. Patrick (Millport) 6; H. McCulloch (Arran) 8, M. Buchanan (Bute) 7.

“Second round: Wm. Burnie (Millport) 9, Wm. Meldrum (Bute) 6; H. McCulloch (Arran) 9, Duke of Montrose (Arran) 1.

“Final: Wm. Burnie 11, H. McCulloch 7.

“The other players in W. Burnie’s rink were Messrs D. McNicol, Alex Cunningham and Wm. Templeton. On presenting the cup to the winning skip Major MacRae said that he and Lady Margaret’s idea for giving the Cup was to bring the curlers from the three islands, Arran, Bute and Cumbrae, into closer touch with one another.”

Though Arran no longer has a curling club of its own, Bute and Millport continue to compete for the County Cup every year, with Millport winning the 2015 encounter, at Greenacres Ice Rink in Howwood, by 12 points to six.