Why one tiny Scottish island is key to every Olympic curling stone

Why one tiny Scottish island is key to every Olympic curling stone


Nature has been very kind to us. The Ailsa Craig has been known for fine granite for curling stones for over a century. Andrew
Kay knew it and people even before Andrew Kay knew to use Ailsa Craig granite for curling
stones. You can go through history and you’ll find even over two hundred years ago Ailsa
Craig granite being used for curling stones. We use two types of Ailsa Craig granite for
making the modern curling stone Ailsa Craig blue hone and Ailsa Craig common green granite. It’s because that island is there with that unique material that this company is here. Each team plays eight stones and the winner is the stone or stones nearest to the centre. There’s four members in each team, the first person
the lead, plays off the first two stones, Then there’s the person who is the second, his responsibility is to keep the scorecard, There’s the third in the rink,
their responsibility is to go to in to the head and acts as the skip while the skip,
who leads the whole team and tells the players where to try and put the stones,
while he plays his two stones. He’s the man doing, well yes, a lot of shouting. The biggest challenge for curling is the age
profile is increasing and we need to get more younger curlers in. The main problem appears
to be youngsters have got too many other interests now plus when some people when they retire,
they find that their own family have got their own grandchildren so they take over look after
them. We’re missing a generation. The first thing we do is we bring the slabs
in from the yard We mark them up in to cheeses,
which is the shape of a cheese. We check the
slab firstly for any floors, anything like that It’s then put on to the coring machine
and it’s then ground down to a certain size, curvatures and whatever else is in there.
And then it’s polished up. We’re producing one stone and hour, which
is working out at 37, 38 a week, that’s five days, well four and a half
we finish on Friday at one o’clock. When the game became an Olympic sport that
was a changing time for the company, 1998, that was when the first Winter Olympic medals
sports were held, and we knew that was going to happen, so we were preparing for
it, made the stones for it. We’re very privileged and proud that
we’ve got a small company here that struggled to survive, it’s not always been an easy thing
to go through a year problems and I mean just being viable. But when we saw the Olympic
development evolving, it really evolved, we we were clear that there was a good future for
curling. I mean 1996 there was 28 countries
that curled in the world, today there’s over 54,
I think and growing. And we’ve been party to that, that’s great
to feel your a small company in this big world, but doing a peaceful thing
and helping the world to talk to each other. South Korea spoke to North Korea,
I think that’s great.

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