Photograph | Donald Smith, later Lord Strathcona, Montreal, QC, 1871 | I-66959
  The Strathcona Cup  

Sir Donald Alexander Smith
1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal (1820-1914)

Strathcona Cup

January 10 to February 3, 2018

can  Canadian men curlers tour Scotland  scot









Anecdotes & Such

February 3

With John Rudd's permission:

Hello from Scotland.

The marathon of curling here continues.  Just one day remains in the tour
although the competition portion is over.  Just some closing activities and
a farewell dinner remain.  The final points total is +325 for Canada.  So
Canada has won the 2018 Strathcona Cup!   A  major accomplishment by all the
tour members, both the North Tour  (mine) and the South Tour.  Sadly the Cup
is not allowed out of Scotland since it is worth more than $100,000.  It is
beautiful and made of solid silver.

The widespread cold and flu epidemic that has dogged us for most of our
visit continues to knock players out of action.   I have finally succumbed
to it although a relatively mild version at present.  Still, throughout the
weeks of illness, our Canadian contingent fielded teams and accumulated
points.  I and one other person spared for missing players every time we were
scheduled to rest, so both of us have played in every draw, all 26!  I am
ready for a rest!

Dispite the illness and number of games, it has has been a wonderful
We have learned so much about curling in Scotland.  We learned how to adjust
to conditions very different than ours.   Some facilities share the ice with
skating and hockey so the ice must be completely remade each week for
We are always on the go off the ice as well.  We visited many interesting
places, including 3 Scotch Whisky distilleries, 1 specialty whisky shop, 1
brewery, historic Haddo House,  Loch Lomond, St. Andrews Golf Course and
clubhouse, Royal Dornoch Golf Course and clubhouse,  a Cooperage (barrel
making), 4 civic receptions, a visit to the National Curling Academy
(including meeting Olympic hopefuls) and much more.  Many stories to tell.

We have had numerous dinners, some elaborate and some simple.  Some with
entertainment and dances.  One at a seaside fish and chips restaurant.  We
had a Burns Dinner to celebrate Robbie Burns, the Scottish poet.  Had to try
many kinds of single malts over the course of the tour, maybe too many

We became "made curlers" which some of you know is a designation given to
curlers who have survived Curler's Court and the initiation rites it
imposes.   Nothing nasty, just good fun involving blindfolds, special
recantations and secret concoctions. Now that we have united again with the
South group of our tour, we have learned their process to become "made
curlers" was a lot tougher than ours.  Not complaining!

We have seen a lot of Scotland and it is certainly someplace one could spend
much more time exploring.

Lastly and most importantly, we have been shown incredible friendliness and
warmth by our Scottish hosts at every stop.  The curling clubs we visited
always made us feel like royalty.  It was clear our visit meant a lot to the
local curlers and they made every effort to put their best foot forward.  At
each stop one of our tour group would do a thank you to let them know our
sincere appreciation for all their hard work and attention.  We met many
Scots who had been to Canada on their tours and they all raved about their
time with us.

It is sad that it is coming to an end but it feels like it is time.  Time
to return home.  Some us need some rest and rehabilitation!

Thank you for all that you have done to enable me to participate in this
tour.  I very much appreciate everything.  I would like to relate some of my
experiences over lunch some time.

Cheers, John

January 9
Sent: Tuesday, January 09, 2018 04:39 PM
Subject: Re: 20 years!

As I recall, 20 years ago, a small group of us ventured out late on our first night in Glasgow, led by our intrepid youngest team mate to a tiny pub. There we shared the generous and enthusiastic hospitality of a pub owner who was thrilled that a small band of Canadians had intentionally sought out his establishment.

Some bonding occurred and one of the first stories was born.

Thanks to Rory for leading his band of Jim, Em, Brian Davy and myself on that night.

Rory insisted that it was a 7 minute walk from the hotel. It was slightly longer. Turned out to be a 7 minute cab ride back - with no traffic to slow us down.


---------- Original Message ---------- 
From: Grant Hilliard <
Date: January 8, 2018 at 9:35 PM 


Yes, twenty years ago!  Great times - any news from this year's departees?



December 19

Contributed by Jamie Hay:

2009 tour participant John Hodgson sent me the following that was written by the great Ken Watson about his Strathcona Cup visit in 1960. I believe you will find it interesting. Plans have been underway for our group for so long (thanks Hugh and team) that it seemed so far away, but now it’s just around the corner!


I recently was given a copy of Ken Watson's book entitled "Curling Today" which was published in 1961.  As I am sure you are aware, Watson was a respected authority and author on curling and included among his accomplishments three Brier Championships.  What you might not know is that he participated along with 28 other Canadians in the 1960 Strathcona Cup which Scotland won by 167 shots.  His book includes a section on that tour. The group left Canada on New Year's day on the Empress of France for a seven day "get acquainted" voyage to Greenock, Scotland. They returned to Canada by air on February 7. Here a few exerpts from the book which I thought were interesting and, in some cases, quite familiar sounding.



- The average age of our team is 58 and of the 29 men in our contingent, we have 28 skips and one sweeper. Boy, it is really frustrating to see your draws stop 6 inches short. The effectiveness of these Scots leaning hard on their brushes continues to astound us. The teams we have played against make our broom work look pretty feeble. It takes young and vigourous players to use the curling broom with an authority that measures up to the Scots' brush work.


- The famous Curlers' Court was held at a dinner in the Brinham Hotel ( near Perth ) and all members of the team were duly inducted with unabated hilarity into the famous brotherhood. The entire initiation was filled with good natured high jinks and all are now "brother curlers" who "look down at the crampit, up at the besom and straight ahead to the tee".  The Highlanders tell us that their own initiation is much more elaborate and inductees risk life and limb to gain the hallowed Curlers' Court. 


- I hear the bagpipes in my dreams at night. We are piped in and piped out of everywhere we go. In fact, we play second fiddle only to the haggis.


- Whiskey is everywhere. Each banquet table is lined with bottles and water never appears on the table except as a chaser.


- Even the customary "stacking of the brooms" during both morning and afternoon sessions fails to stem the tide of the Scots' victory.


- There are quite a few team casualties with colds, flu and bronchitis. An M.D. here proclaimed bronchial trouble as the national disease.


- Everything is rapidly becoming repititious. The late banquets and speeches are killers. For the last three days "Auld Lang Syne" wasn't sung until well after midnight. Each day it's a fresh group that descends on us eager to play both on and off the ice.


- My memory of all that has happened is vaguely kaleidoscopic for we seem to have been everywhere, done everything and wedged a lot of curling in between.


- The closing banquet was a never to be forgotten occasion for the Canadians. With the Royal Caledonian Club as hosts, a delightful evening of toasts, good food and entertainment wrote finis to another thrilling chapter of international curling and goodwill.


- Tomorrow off to Prestwick and back to Winnipeg via TCA. My cell mate, Norm Long, has provided me with sleeping pills but I doubt very much the need of them. In any event, in my dreams I'll hear the inevitable skirl of the pipes, relive the 41 matches and the marvellous hospitality of our warm-hearted friends in Scotland.


Looking forward to meeting everyone

Have a Merry Christmas,

Jamie Hay































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