The Grand Match and Carsbreck

The Grand Match was started by the RCCC to bring curlers together on national basis. The first Grand Match was held on the 15th January 1847 at Penicuik. The second was on the 25th January 1848 on Linlithgow Loch and the third on the 11th January 1850 at Lochwinnoch.

The main driver for the timing of the introduction of the Grand Match were probably improved communication, caused by the coming of the railways, and the formation of the. The RCCC itself was formed in 1838 as the Grand Caledonian Curling Club and added the Royal to the name in 1843. The Grand was dropped shortly after.

There had at this time been a gradual movement towards bigger matches. In 1843 there was a game of 36 rinks between the north and south or Perthshire. Attempts to match several counties together in 1844 at Penicuik and 1845 at Airthey Loch failed as there was no frost.

In order to make a competition for all the teams were divided into North and South of Scotland with the division at approximately Glasgow to Perth. This was later changed to be the Forth/Clyde line.

Each of these first venues was not particularly convenient to the players from the North, also there were perhaps some concern even then about the depth of the water should there be an accident. Then RCCC therefore sought a venue that would meet all the criteria and this was found at Carsbreck. Carsbreck was a 63 acre site between Greenloaning and Blackford Station at 280 feet above sea level. It was conveniently close to the line of the Scottish Central Railway. The site was owned by Mrs Home Drummond Stirling Moray of Abercairney and the rent was set at 15 per annum for November to February. The site was prepared such that the water would be between 5 and 6 feet deep and was ready by November 1852.

The first Grand Match at Carsbreck was held on the 18th February 1853 with over 1400 curlers. The site was used on average about once every 3 years for the rest of the century. Carsbreck was not used exclusively and if ice was available elsewhere then it was used e.g. there were Grand Matches at Lochwinnoch in 1864 and 1878.

The Grand Match trophy was bought in 1886 at a cost of 114, it contains 150oz (just over 4 Kg) of Sterling Silver.