Wheelchair Curling: The Up and Coming Sport

August 29, 2017

In March of 2014, Great Britain took home the bronze medal in wheelchair curling at the Sochi Winter Paralympics. This ice rink-based sport is something which is already popular across Scotland and Wales and is now gaining support in England as well.

A Delve Into the Unknown

Stewart Pimblett and Steve McGarry, from Northumberland, took a chance to try curling on an awful winter’s day in 2010 but, since that day, it’s been a tremendous journey.

Stewart says: “During the winter of 2010, Steve and I decided to have an expedition up to Kelso in the Scottish Borders, in some of the worst arctic conditions of the year to give curling a try. After an interesting three hour drive, we managed to persuade Jim, the ice rink manager, to re-open having made a path through two feet of snow from the car park to the main building.

“Jim may have scratched his head with disbelief but this is when Northern Ice was formed and we’ve never looked back.”

Jim may have scratched his head with disbelief but this is when Northern Ice was formed and we’ve never looked back.”

Northern Ice is currently England’s only wheelchair curling team.  As Stewart previously mentioned, the team uses facilities in Scotland because there’s nothing suitable currently in the north of England.

Stewart explains: “Northern Ice Wheelchair Curling Club accesses the rinks in Lockerbie and Kelso and occasionally goes to Stirling as well, which is almost a three-hour drive away. All domestic competitions are held in Scotland.”

Hopes for the Future

With the membership of Northern Ice growing all the time, it’s Stewart’s ambition that the club is able to find somewhere to build facilities closer to home in the North East of England, to make it as easy as possible for its members:

Stewart comments: “Our vision is to have our own rink built within the next three to five years so we can promote and really start to grow the great sport of curling. We’re trying to make a new era in curling up here. Hopefully disabled & able-bodied players can have a game together with no restrictions, just fun!”

“We’re trying to make a new era in curling.”

With Great Britain performing on a global stage in 2014 and recently capturing the bronze medal at the 2017 World Championships, the sport is showing a lot of promise and hopefully it can continue to grow. Stewart and Steve have done a tremendous amount of work to get this club off the ground.

To find out more, click Northern Ice here to find them on Facebook.

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