Inverness Ice Centre
8 March 2017
Inverness Ice Centre welcomes world-wide competitors as popular international curling event returns
More than 100 people have travelled from around the globe to take part in the 51st Highland Week of International Curling at Inverness Ice Centre.
Competitors from America, Canada, Switzerland as well as other parts of the UK are among the 22 teams taking part this year.
The teams are competing for the Glenfarclas Silver Quaich. Also up for grabs is the Alan Johnston Trophy and the Consolation Bonspiel.
The oldest competitor is 90-year-old Sandy Anderson from Aberdeen who won the competition seven-years ago.
The Inverness British Legion Pipe Band opened proceedings and piped the curlers onto the ice to mark the beginning of the weeklong competition on Sunday 5 March.
The very first Highland Week took place in 1967 in Aviemore but for almost 20-years the competition has made its home at the Inverness Ice Centre.
The week long event as well as the competition, also includes a programme of social and cultural activities including a ceilidh and a Burns Night.
Mike Jack, Highland Week of International Curling committee member said the event remained a popular fixture even in it’s fifth decade.
He added: “There is a fantastic atmosphere which people really enjoy.
“Although there is a high level of competition, it is also a very social event and everyone is made very welcome here in Inverness. Many people come back year after year which is great and we hope that will continue for many years to come.”
Fellow committee member Alan Durno said: “There has been some big improvements at Inverness Ice Centre since we were last here and it’s made a real difference to the ice. Everyone is enjoying playing on it.
“Inverness is a great venue and now with additional flight connections from Heathrow and Amsterdam it has made it much easier for many of our international competitors to travel here.”
Mr Durno said the event would not be possible without the generosity of their sponsors who include Glenfarclas Malt Whisky, the Kingsmills Hotel, Johnny Foxes, Diageo, Chivas and the MacDonald Partnership.
The Inverness Ice Centre underwent a £700,000 upgrade earlier this year, which included a new bespoke chiller pack, air-cooled condensers and control system along with a new floor and barriers in the ice hall.
The Highland Week final will take place on Friday 10 March at 1.30pm and spectators are welcome to attend.
Inverness Ice Centre also plays host to the annual Strictly Inverness dancing extravaganza, which sees thousands of pounds raised each year for the Highland Hospice and the Ice Centre itself.
The Inverness Ice Centre changed ownership a number of times before its users bought it in 2002, and it became a charitable organisation as part of the process.