8 ways to play curling in England

You’ve had a few days of curling action now and you’re getting pretty into it. Mr T has even got involved, coining his own hashtag #curliniscoolfool! But what happens, in a weeks’ time when it all starts winding down and there’s no more #curlingfever?

You don’t need to worry because we have got your back! Here’s 8 ways to get on the ice this winter.


Fenton’s Rink is the only place in England where you can play curling exactly how it is on the Olympics. There’s a full-size, dedicated facility just waiting for your booking. Find a group of friends (in multiples of 8) and book here: www.fentonsrink.co.uk. There are also a number of competitive leagues that run throughout the season at the rink.



The SECC have got a fantastic offer for Olympic hopefuls to try the sport. They are running a four week beginners programme on first four Thursday evenings in March at Fenton’s Rink (details above). You’ll learn the basic rules, technique, and strategy and will even be eligible to play in a beginner’s bonspiel in April. Details here: http://www.secc.rocks/try-curling.

Juniors (11+) are extremely welcome on this programme but can specifically get involved with the Kent & Sussex Junior Curling Club. More details here: Facebook.



If you’re up in the North of England, you can try your hand at curling at the Border Ice Rink with the Glendale club. The rink, in Kelso, is putting on a whole host of Try Curling sessions for beginners. All the details are on the Try Curling website here: www.trycurling.com.



We’re super excited to announce that there is a brand new, Olympic sized curling rink opening in Preston this summer. The Flower Bowl will be a mixed leisure centre with ten pin bowling, crazy golf, a cinema and, most importantly, a FOUR LANE CURLING RINK! You can book online or go into the centre. More details will follow after the grand opening scheduled for June, but you can find out more here: www.bartongrange.co.uk/flowerbowl.



Though St. George’s Curling Club does not have a base at any one rink, they are welcoming curlers (and wannabe curlers) from across Scotland and beyond. Get in touch with Phil Barton or Angela Wilcox for more information or take a look on their website here: http://www.stgeorgescurling.club.



For other Try Curling sessions in Wales (Deeside, not far from Manchester) or in many locations in Scotland, visit the Try Curling website: www.trycurling.com.



You can play a diet coke version of curling at Queens Skating Rink in Bayswater, London. The ice is shorter than a normal curling rink and there’s no sweeping, but it is still a smashing evening out and a great way to have go at the sport! More info and booking here: www.queens.london/curling.



We know there’s a lack of dedicated curling facilities in England which is the main barrier for wannabe Olympic curlers, BUT there is another way!

Get in touch with your local skating rink and see if they will put aside some time in their skating schedule for curling. The English Curling Association can help with equipment and expertise on preparing the ice. Once you’ve got them on board, get in touch with the ECA on email here.

Right… You’ve learnt all the tactics and now you need to get yourself to an ice rink to put yourself in contention for Beijing 2022! 

Photos: WCF.



How to watch all the curling action at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics

This week marked the start of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games. The introduction of the Mixed Doubles discipline to the Olympic curling programme,  means we are now charged with the rather daunting task of watching over 300 hours of curling in less than 20 days.

To save curling fans from panicking about how to make the most of this opportunity, the ECA has produced a simple step-by-step guide on how to extract the maximum amount of curling from the next two weeks.



Cancel any plans you may have between the hours of 11.30pm and 1.30pm every day until Sunday 25th February.

  • Yes, that includes work commitments.
  • And sleeping.
  • Okay, you can sleep between sessions if required.


Step 2: GET SET-UP

You will need to start gathering screens as you’ll need four per session. We’d recommend the following:

  • 1 Internet connected TV
  • 1 Laptop
  • 1 Tablet
  • 1 Phone



Make sure you have a strong internet connection. Streaming four live games at a time for over 300 hours requires a robust connection!

World Mixed Curling Championship 2017, Champery, Switzerland


The BBC are streaming one game live per session on the Red Button, but what if this isn’t the game you want to watch? To make sure you don’t miss any of the action, subscribe to Eurosport Player. By using the promo code UK99, you can get the first month of subscription for £0.99 and can cancel at any time. You can also watch all the games ‘On Demand’ on Eurosport Player if you need to watch again or catch up. On BBC you can download these onto your tablet or phone to watch on your morning commute (yes please)!



You’ve already missed a few games, but thanks to all these fantastic play-back facilities (and the weekend almost upon us). There’s plenty of time to catch up. Send us your photos and comments on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook using the hashtag #lovecurling.

In the meantime, the metro have uploaded a great, user friendly schedule which you can access here.

We didn’t say it was going to be easy to get your curling fix this winter. Are you up for the 300 hour challenge?


Ice Rink Canary Wharf’s Corporate Curling Challenge returns

Calling all competitive types, entries are now open for Ice Rink Canary Wharf’s Corporate Curling Challenge, from 5 to 9 February 2018.

Event name: Ice Rink Canary Wharf Corporate Challenge

Dates & times: Monday 5 February – Friday 9 February 2018. 12-2.30pm

Venue: Ice Rink Canary Wharf, Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5AB.

Ticket details: £120 for a team of four

To book: www.icerinkcanarywharf.co.uk/corporate-challenges

Curling at IRCW (1).jpg

Curling is once again coming to Canary Wharf during Ice Rink Canary Wharf’s fortnight of Corporate Challenges.

Following on from the success of last year’s Curling Challenge, the stones are back at Ice Rink Canary Wharf for a week-long tournament, from 5-9 February. 32 teams of four will battle it out through the week, but only the top six teams will go through to the Friday finals. The competition is open to all abilities.

Quote, from Tommy Campbell (President of the English Curling Association):

“Curling is one of the fastest growing winter sports with more and more countries participating, even those in the Middle East such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The forthcoming Olympic Games will provide a showcase for the traditional 4-person game as well as the absorbing new discipline of Mixed Doubles which is making its first appearance at that level.

“In England we are excited about the prospect of a new curling rink opening in Lancashire in a few months to join the existing one in Kent and hope that exposure to the sport via the Olympics will encourage others to look at investing in new facilities for the sport.

“The event at Canary Wharf gives us a chance to let people get a feel for what the game is all about and we hope that some will decide to pursue their interest further, either at the Kent rink or by approaching their local ice rink and asking them to give curling some ice time.”


On top of the prestige of winning the Championship trophy, the winners will receive a generous bar tab to be used at The Grandstand Secret Garden. There will be great prizes for the runners up too.


Curling – bar tab prize values: first place, £250; second place, £125; third place £75.

To register your interest please visit icerinkcanarywharf.co.uk/corporate-challenges

Curling at IRCW (2).jpg

About Ice Rink Canary Wharf:

Ice Rink Canary Wharf is the longest-running seasonal ice rink London, open from 4 November 2017 to 24 February 2018.

Nestled in Canada Square Park in the heart of Canary Wharf, the ice rink is fully covered so whatever the British weather has in store the fun continues.

This year, discover a dedicated children’s rink and the unique skate path – an ice trail weaving under the fairy lit trees and back to the rink.

Along with ice skating sessions and lessons, Ice Rink Canary Wharf will host an array of activities to sample including ice hockey, curling tournaments and speed skating and is the perfect venue for children’s parties,  team-building days, launch events, ice skating lessons, and office Christmas parties.

For more information and to book tickets visit www.icerinkcanarywharf.co.uk

Ice Rink Canary Wharf’s Corporate Challenge is sponsored by Abercrombie & Kent, http://www.abercrombiekent.co.uk

Curling at IRCW (3).jpg

In Profile – Ben Fowler

Welcome to the newest interview in the ECA In Profile series. Today we’re with youngster, Ben Fowler, who has played over 80 games for his country aged just 24. He has had success at both Mixed Doubles (placing 8th at the World Mixed Doubles Championships in 2016) and at Men’s (winning a bronze medal at the 2014 European Curling Championships in the B group). He’s currently training for the English National Championships (Feb 22nd) where he will be hoping to return to the European Curling Championships for the fourth time as part of Team Woolston. 

Position in team: Third and vice skip

Years Curled: 12


How did you first get into curling?

My mum played once when on holiday in Switzerland. When she saw there was a rink opening in Kent she took me and my siblings along to give it a go. We were all hooked instantly!

Where do you now play most of your curling?

I play most of my curling at Greenacres curling club near Glasgow but I also regularly play at Braehead, Stirling and Perth.

What is your best curling memory?

Finishing 8th in the World mixed doubles curling championships with my sister has to be one of my best memories. It was an amazing season with an awesome end.


WMDCC 2016

What has been your proudest moment whilst representing England?

Winning the bronze medal at the European championships B division was awesome. Standing on the podium with England written on your back gives you an amazing feeling of pride.

Image result for ben fowler curling medal ecc

ECC 2014

Who is your inspiration?

Niklas Edin from Sweden is one of my sporting heroes. He’s risen to the top at a young age, winning 2 world championships and 5 Europeans.

Who do you think the best curler in the world is?

Once again, Edin springs to mind. He makes ridiculous shots on a regular basis.

Describe your pre-match routine.

Before a game I like to stretch while watching the ice crew prepare the ice. Often you can glean some information about how the ice will play from the things they do.

Have you ever had a curling related disaster?

Not that I can think of. I’ve heard some good ones though. One player from the England mixed team washed their brand new red and white kits together before the competition and ended up playing in pink kit!

Do you have any tips for juniors and less experienced curlers?

Practice makes perfect. I really enjoy heading down to the rink alone, putting my headphones in and playing 100 or so shots.


What do you do when you aren’t curling?

I’m currently in my final year of a mechanical engineering degree at Glasgow university. I also run a small design and prototyping business on the side. Outside of work and studying I enjoy playing squash and hockey with friends and sometimes as a guest appearance in the university teams.

What are your strengths and weaknesses on the ice?

It changes from season to season. This season I’ve played a lot, so my weight has been pretty spot on. I’m currently working on my release though as sometimes I’m guilty of putting too little rotation on my shots.

What do you love about curling?

It’s a sport that has everything; tactics, finesse and endurance all play a major part in the game at the top level. It’s a combination that’s hard to beat. I also love playing with and against such a range of people. The sport is accessible to practically anyone.

Follow Ben on Twitter!


St Gallen round-up from the men’s team

Read Andrew Woolston’s round-up of their week in St Gallen for the 2017 European Curling Championships.
St Gallen was to be the location for the Europeans this year, making it my fifth time in Switzerland representing England.

Alternate: James Whittle Lead: Fraser Clark Second: Scott Gibson Third: Ben Fowler (vice-skip) Fourth: Andrew Woolston (skip) Coach: Ken Horton

The competition is getting harder and harder, with the margins for error getting increasingly smaller. We were drawn in a section with Finland, Spain, Latvia, Belgium, Estonia, Hungary and Israel. All teams bar one had either been in the A division or in the playoffs to go up in the last four years. It was going to be a tough week.
When we joined together as a team 18 months ago we had the main aim of representing England in a European competition, if we were successful we would primarily aim to gain experience and stay in the B division. To do this in our group was going to be very hard, none of our opposition would be a walk over.
After a nervy start we managed a win against Belgium with our last stone. We were three down after three ends but hung in until the end. Finland were next up and the game was very tight, Aku Kauste made at least three great doubles to keep his team slightly ahead. His last stone in the tenth end was a perfect hit and roll behind a centre guard to force a tough draw to try and steal.

Photo: WCF

Despite controlling our next game with Israel right through, a miss with my last stone cost us the game. A loss which should have been a win. To stand within a chance of not being in the bottom two we needed another win. Estonia would be the closest game with it going to an extra end caused by two complete misses by myself! In the extra my first tap attempt picked up twice, firstly to look as though it was going to raise them in, then to pick again and miss both shots and sit biting the 8 foot on the wing. I would later use this stone to hit and roll for the win.
Going into the last game we were in a good position to secure B division status for 2018. We needed two good LSDs, a win against Latvia or Hungary to win. Fraser was first up with his LSD and covered the button, Ben then threw his and copied Fraser’s effort. With the main aim of the competition complete and no chance to qualify for the play offs we played Latvia and enjoyed it, rotating Ben out and Jim in on end 6. Now to enjoy ourselves and watch the A division games.

Photo: WCF

Back home, we continue our training both at Greenacres and the National Academy in Stirling. We have a few events coming up and a busy week with all of our rearranged league games in three days.
We would like to thank our coach Ken Horton for his efforts over the past year, without it I doubt we would be where we are. We would also like to thank Richard Harding at Greenacres for his accommodating ice schedule, Tony Zummack for his technical assistance during the summer and all who supported us throughout the competitions, both in person and on the other side of a screen. Finally, we would like to thank TLDallas for their support this season, it has been greatly appreciated and has eased some of the financial burden.
Follow the men’s team on social media:

In Profile


World Mixed Curling Championship 2017, Champery, Switzerland

Welcome to another interview in the ECA In Profile series. Today we’re looking back at the long and successful career of England player, Kirsty Balfour. Kirsty has achieved most of her successes whist representing England as part of the England Ladies Team, but most recently played as lead of Team Woolston at the World Mixed Curling Championships. She will also play in the national championships this season, competing to once again represent England.

So, without further ado, let’s get stuck in!


Position in team: Lead, I’ve played them all but favour Lead or Third

Years Curled: I started playing in 1990

How did you first get into curling?

My dad curls so I used to go along to watch him and play with the stones at the end of the rink.  When we moved from East Lothian to the Borders I could take curling up properly as we only lived 15 minutes from the ice rink.

Where do you now play most of your curling?

Border Ice Rink in Kelso

What is your best curling memory?

I have so many happy curling memories but the 1998-1999 season was a special one.  I was in my final year at university and wasn’t supposed to play that season.  I ended up joining Sheila Swan’s team in the December where we went onto win the Lockerbie Juniors and made the semi-finals of the Scottish Juniors.  I then played 3rd to Neil Joss and we won the Scottish Mixed Championships in our then home ice rink, the old Aberdeen Ice rink in Dyce.  Not a bad season for someone who wasn’t meant to play!

What has been your proudest moment whilst representing England?

Winning the European ‘B’ Division in 2007 in Fussen with Caroline Reed, Joan Reed, Claire Grimwood and Sarah McVey. This was my first year playing skip so was probably my most relaxed year as I put no pressure on myself. The following year we managed to maintain our position in the ‘A’ Division which was also a proud moment.


2007 European Championships B Division winners – Claire Grimwood, Caroline Reed, Kirsty Balfour, Joan Reed and Sarah McVey

Who is your inspiration?

I wouldn’t say there is just one person who inspires me.  On a daily basis I am inspired and motivated by my family, colleagues, friends and patients.

Who do you think the best curler in the world is?

When I was playing ladies it would have to be Anette Norberg.

Describe your pre-match routine.

I’m pretty laid back with my pre-match routine.

  • Before heading to the rink, check my bag a number of times to make sure I have all my kit
  • Get to ice rink get organised
  • Little bit of stretching
  • A few minutes of thinking and a good chat with team mates

Have you ever had a curling related disaster?

No real disasters, but there has been many an adventure trying to get to the Europeans over the years.  The most memorable one was getting to Ornskoldsvik in 2008 which involved our flights being cancelled from Newcastle due to a snowstorm.  We then spent about 6hrs in the airport playing arrow words (Caroline Reed’s favourite) and watching the mini snowplough trying to clear the runway. We ended up having to fly to Stockholm via LHR where we then had to stay in an airport hotel in bunk beds before flying onto Ornskoldsvik the next day.  Needless to say our bags and “Boris” our broombag didn’t arrive at the same time as us!!!

Do you have any tips for juniors and less experienced curlers?

  • Get as much on ice experience as you can be it practice or game time
  • That some losses are going to hurt but ultimately the wins will come
  • It’s a sport and things are sometimes not going to go your way
  • We play it because we love the sport

What do you do when you aren’t curling?

If I’m not working or on-call for work I try to play as much golf as I can, catch up with friends, a bit of reading and going to live music events.

What are your strengths and weaknesses on the ice?

  • Having played in all positions I have a good understanding of the game and like to think that I can play well in any position.
  • Understanding that sometimes it just isn’t your day
  • Ability to see plan A-Z
  • Now that I play lead keeping a calm head and being the team motivator, though I’m not sure if the others would agree!

My weakness used to be the out-turn but having played with Andy for the past 4 years it’s now not an issue!! I rarely get to play an in-turn now!!

What do you love about curling?

I love being part of a team, the tactical side of the sport and the many friends and memories I’ve made over the years.


In Profile

Here it is… The one you’ve all been waiting for… An In Profile special with ECA Treasurer, 110-time England player and all-round curling-expert – John Brown!

John has not only had a long and successful career as a player, both in England and Scotland, but has also dedicated an admirable amount of time to the running and up-keep of English Curling. Read on for insight into John’s 50 years of curling experience and many years at the forefront of English Curling.


Name: John M L Brown

Position in team: I have played in all positions in a team – much of the time nowadays I am skip in the various teams I play in, but as a junior lead was my best and favourite position.

Years Curled: I first started curling in 1967 and so I am starting my 51st season though I had a 5 year break in the early 1980s. Have been involved in English Curling since 1982.

How did you first get into curling?

The school I attended in Glasgow was across the road from an ice rink and curling was one of the sports offered to pupils from Year 9 upwards. From the list of rugby, cross-country running, swimming, rowing, ten-pin bowling, curling and chess my choice came down to ten-pin bowling or curling – as the curling was cheaper and much closer to school I gave it a try and the rest, they say, is history!

One of the first people I played with was Ken Bruce – the Radio 2 disc jockey who was a pupil at my school

Where do you now play most of your curling?John Brown

I actually play most of my curling in Scotland at various competitions. I live about 120 miles from Fenton’s Rink in Kent and play there once every two weeks on average but over a season I probably play about 70% of my games in Scotland.

What is your best curling memory?

Winning the RCCC Rink Championship, the premier club championship in Scotland while still at school. The total age of our team was 62 which was the age of one of the players we beat in the final. This got us into the National Sunday papers in Scotland.

What has been your proudest moment whilst representing England?

On the ice there are two which I rate equally – qualifying for the World Championship in 1985 and finishing 4th in the World Senior Championships in 2005. We only lost in the semi-final to the USA by 4-2.

As a member of the ECA, it was hearing that our Junior Women had qualified for the World Championships by winning the European Junior Championships. These were girls I had helped develop from their first steps on the ice and now they were achieving a dream for a country with such a small curling membership and few facilities.


John Brown with the 2015 European Junior Championships winners

Who is your inspiration?

Sir Chris Bonington the mountaineer and explorer continues to climb and travel in his eighties and he has filled his life with so much adventure that I can only stand back in amazement to think that so much can be achieved. You are never too old to climb Everest and if I can continue to curl at a good level as long as he has climbed then I will be happy.

On a curling rink I have always been a great admirer of my skip at school, Graeme Adam, who has achieved every honour in Scottish Curling and represented Scotland at all levels from Junior to Senior.

Who do you think the best curler in the world is?

It would be easy here to say that it must be Brad Gushue as he is World Champion but taking a wider look at a lifetime’s achievements by someone who is still playing then it must be Glenn Howard of Canada.

I played against him in the 1987 World Championship and then there he was 25 years later winning the Championship again in 2012. That is an incredible length of time to be able to compete at the very top level and proves that it is not just the physical strength of youth that makes a great curler.

Describe your pre-match routine.

Arrive at rink, change shoes and trousers and go onto the ice. Afraid I have no physical warm up routine though at my age it is probably needed more than many years ago

Have you ever had a curling related disaster?

On the ice the most disappointing time was losing out on the chance to return to the World Championship in 1986 after we were eliminated in a play-off against France. While we managed to qualify again the following year I can still remember how devastated I felt that we had lost.

One year, when organising the English Championships, I arranged for a meal to be available at the Ice Rink (Perth) for all the players and supporters after one of the games. When it came to the time to eat nobody wanted to partake because they were playing another game just a couple of hours later! A lesson learnt so that now when organising championships I only deal with the games, the players can organise their own meal breaks!

ECC 2011 B 94 Bronze medalists

Do you have any tips for juniors and less experienced curlers?

While we all like to look as though we are the World Champion when delivering a stone remember that it is not how you look but where your stone ends up – as in golf, every player has their own delivery (swing) and as long as it works for you then it is a good delivery.

The best shot you will ever play is the next one – don’t look back and say I could have done better, look forward and say I will do better.

What do you do when you aren’t curling?

During the curling off-season I spent a lot of time going to watch all forms of motor racing (except Formula 1 which is not really racing!) all around the country. I have an extensive library (a large part of which is about motor racing and exploration/climbing) which always provides me with something interesting to read and I have recently resurrected my interest in stamp collecting.

I have an interest in a diverse range of music and go to festivals/concerts regularly and I have a comprehensive collection of LPs and cassettes as well as CDs.

I also see myself as the unofficial archivist of the ECA and maintain a pretty complete record of most things to do with the sport in England!

I can also be persuaded to help look after our garden, do the odd domestic chore etc.. My wife still works and so I currently act as a bit of a househusband!

What are your strengths and weaknesses on the ice?


  • Ability to play in any position in a team and to be happy playing in that position
  • Knowledge of many game set-ups and situations from years of playing
  • Able to recognise when it is my fault that my stone has not finished where I wanted it to be, and not the fault of the sweepers/skip
  • Able to sweep on both sides of the stone – helps if the other sweeper is only able to sweep on one side


If I told you my weaknesses then I would have to kill you so as not to reveal them to others!

What do you love about curling?

I love the thrill of being able to deliver a large lump of rock with delicacy to a specific point on the surface of a sheet of ice. The thrill of drawing precisely to the button or of hitting and getting a perfect roll never leave me – even more so these days as they seem to happen less often!

The only people I am still in touch with from my school days are those I curled with – you have a long life in the sport if you want it – it is maybe a cliché but you CAN play curling from 8 to 80 and play it with the same people at either end of your playing days, even if some of those have gone off and become World Champions. It gives me a few more years to keep on playing and hoping to win!



John M L Brown bio

Currently Treasurer, World Curling Federation representative and Competitions Convenor for the English Curling Association (ECA). Previously President and Secretary of the ECA and also Chairman of the British Curling Association in the lead up to the 2006 Olympics.

Scottish Schools Champion 3 times, Scottish Rink Championships winner, English National Champion 4 times, English Senior Champion 3 times and English Mixed Doubles Champion once.

Represented England at 12 European Championships, 2 World Championships and 9 World Senior Championships and coached a variety of teams at Senior, Junior, Mixed Doubles and National level.