The Yara Farmers’ Curling Championship is not only the largest curling competition in Europe, it is also one of the longest running.
Last week was the 32nd year of the event, which attracts more than 300 curlers from all over Scotland and even north England.
Yara UK Ltd area manager Alan Wood plays host to the teams throughout the week and has made the role his own over recent years, so it was with some sadness that competitors heard prior to the competition that he was retiring.
However, a huge cheer went up at Friday evening’s prizegiving when Peter Smith, business manager for Scotland, announced that Alan had agreed to stay on for another year and therefore everyone could look forward to the 2016 Yara Championships.
This year the final of the high road was hotly contested between last year’s winners from the Borders and a team from Fife.
It came right down to the last stone when Allan Marshall, who farms at East Pitkierie, Anstruther, played a great shot to win.
He last won the competition in 2011 with regular team members Colin Howden and Colin Reid.
This year he enlisted the help of Perth farmer’s son and former world and Scottish junior champion Kyle Smith at third.
Kyle is the fifth member of the Smith family to have been in a winning rink at this event, following in the footsteps of his grandfather Bill, father Dave, uncle Pete and their cousin Gregor.
He is heading to Granada in Spain next week to represent Great Britain at the World University Games.
James Stark from Duns and his team of Andrew Reed, John Cannon and Alistair Hodge had to settle for the runners up prize, having won the previous two years in succession.
In the low road final John Davie from Denny took the honours for the third year in a row.
He and his team of Gary Rutherford of Glenfarg, Andrew Barr of Balerno, and William Mitchell from Dunblane have also twice been in the high road final.
Runners-up in the low road were the’tattie team’ skipped by Graeme Prentice who works for potato company IPM, brothers Gordon and Ewan Stark who work for Greenvale, and potato farmer Graham Reid of Gourdie Farm, Perth.
Four ladies’ teams entered this year, with three members of the top team travelling all the way from Ross-shire, where they play for the Belmaduthy Club.
Brenda McIntyre skipped her team of farmers’ wives Coreen MacRae, Lynne Fraser and Perth’s Vilma Kirk to second place in their section.