The Royal Caledonian Curling Club may have sought and failed the correct clearance from authorities to hold a bonspeil on the Lake of Menteith for the first time since 1979. But the cancellation didn’t prevent a return to more innocent times before health and safety held such sway.

A Facebook group that had been set up announced soon after the announcement of the cancellation shouted out:

“Bring your stones, bring your skates if you prefer, or just bring your self. Take heed of the warnings but do it anyway. See you Saturday.”

So yesterday 2,000 curlers turned up, to enjoy the once in a lifetime chance to partake in a grand match on a frozen loch or lake.

The rather appropriately named, for such subterfuge, owner of the Lake Hotel Ian Fleming said the event was very much in the spirit of the 19th Century bonspeils:

“It’s as we suspected: a lot of people have made individual decisions to come and celebrate the freezing over of the lake for themselves. Lots of people are just walking out on to the lake, because it might be the only time in their lives they get to do it.”

Mr Fleming who himself was skating on the Lake on Friday evening said that curlers turned up Midnight with floodlights and so the first ‘flash mobbed’ bonspeil in history came to be.

Colin Grahamslaw, chief executive of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club, who had called off the official event when the authorities and emergency services were unable to give their backing said:

“It’s great. What we’re seeing is what you’d hope for on a busy weekend in such a beautiful setting. It’s nice that people have been able to take advantage of that.”

The ice is reckoned to be far deeper than the seven inch requirement that the club say is necessary for such events. Welcome to the 21st Century Bonspeil a mixture of the traditional and the modern.

UPDATE: Pity Kevin McKenna didn’t check all his fact before publishing this well written Comment is Free piece today.

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