Monday, January 11, 2010

Bonspiel by Sally Evans

Lake of Menteith, with Inchmahome centre distance, © Keith Salvesen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

On Friday 8th January 2010 the Royal Caledonian Curling Club said that a proposed Grand Match on the Lake of Mentieth had been called off due to Health & Safety concerns.

Nonetheless some 24 curling matches did indeed take place and poet Sally Evans was there to watch.


Winter's black trail over the hill.
Snowy woods .Icy verges. Till
near Menteith, traffic cones
mark no-go zones.

Down, past the police cars, to a gate.
Curling teams spill everywhere, and yet
there's room to park.
Two hours since dark.

it's half past nine on Sunday morning.
People flock: wildlife has taken wing.
We step onto the ice,
solid, substantial space,

snow-carpeted expanse of loch,
on which we marvel, slide and walk,
where some skate.
It loves everyone's weight.

As teams sweep long rectangular runs
the click and rumble of unleashed stones begins.
The hotel's busy day
is under way.

Dogs, kids on sledges, locals, sail the breeze,
cross to the Abbey and ancient trees
one of which has collapsed
this winter past,

Abbey buildings melancholy and
two stone ruins on the small island
that cannot usually
be seen properly.

Watching again we buy burgers and tea
and pass the time of day with all and sundry
then drive away before
we freeze to the core,

sent on a one-way route round by Arnprior
bearing with us the polished life and fire
of the Bonspiel.
Stumble and try to tell.


Sally Evans is the editor of Poetry Scotland

For a photograph of the event, visit the BBC News


  1. A beautiful lake and a nice poem, but I think I would have followed the advise. We have already had several deaths in Norway due to careless on frozen lakes.

  2. Sally in reply to RuneE
    The ice was nine inches thick all over the lake, and it took all this weight effortlessly. Access was the main worry, as there is only a small road to the lake from two directions -which was turned into a one way system.