- By Thomas Duncan
- BBC Scotland
Scottish Curling Championship 2024
When: Sunday 4-Saturday 10 February 2024 Location: Dumfries Ice Bowl
Access: Watch the men’s and women’s finals and finals on BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport website & app
As the current face of Scottish curling, Bruce Mouat is a man with a lot to think about.
There is a close defense of his Scottish Championship title. Then, if everything goes according to plan, the world defense of his rink won for the first time last year.
The halfway mark of the Winter Olympics has arrived again. So there is a process underway to get him to Milan in 2026 in top form, so he can upgrade his silver medal from Beijing to gold.
But closer to home, there is a battle to ensure that the next Bruce Mouat or Eve Muirhead has a path to success. Fighting to save the future of curling.
Rising electricity prices over the past two years have made the country’s water supply more vulnerable.
With the national ice cap now down to 21, the future of curling is bright.
“It’s affecting curlers all over the country because the electricity prices mean we’re raising prices in the local rinks, which means that for every game the local curlers go to play they can spend three to four pounds more. , more than four or five games a week,” he says. Mouat.
“It’s a big increase for someone to pay. To be attracted to another sport to go and try it. So it’s very difficult.”
The solutions are not easy, or many. With a twist it is only awarded to the UK national team every four years at the Olympics, which puts the pressure on those like Mouat to win, thus encouraging others to join the sport.
“It comes with responsibility,” he says. “I will promote it until the end of my days. I love the game, it’s been a lot of fun for me and it’s a daily job. I’ve met a lot of friends that I still have to this day. It’s been a very family oriented game for me, and that’s what patience is all about.”
“It was great to see that there were so many people coming together to save Perth. It could happen in other games. But I’m sure it will happen the same way, a lot of people. Together.
“Hopefully, we can continue to see all of these rinks open and promote the joy of curling.”
‘We haven’t got anywhere’
Back on the ice, Mouat and his team – Grant Hardie, Bobby Lammie, and Hammy McMillan – are due to defend their national title in Dumfries this week.
Another win could go a long way toward qualifying for the world championships in early April, as the quartet look to defend their crown in Switzerland.
They will start as favorites but with the rinks of Ross Whyte, James Craik and others they are sure to provide strong competition, with depth in men’s curling right now.
“It’s a double-edged sword, I think,” explains Mouat. “It puts a target on your back a little bit, but it can be dangerous for smaller teams.
“There’s a lot of really good teams in Scotland now. I’m also showing the world club, we’ve got five teams in the top 25 in the world, which is probably the first time we’ve ever been there. They had that.
“So we’re doing well, there’s a lot of domestic pressure.”
Mouat’s rink has been renovated two years after he lost in the Olympic final. Another European title – the third in a row – and a world crown to go with the Grand Slam wins.
Their increase has been inevitable because of the work they have done to change it. Underpinned by Mouat’s calm confidence, there’s plenty to take in.
“We’re still in a good place,” the skip says. “I still feel like we’re doing the best we’ve done in seven years, and I don’t think we’re done yet.
“I think there are things we want to achieve. The biggest one is the Olympics in the last two years. We still need to qualify for that, and the biggest goal is to win the national championship this week.”
You can watch the semi-finals and final of the Scottish Curling Championships on BBC iPlayer and on the BBC Sport website and program on 9 & 10 February 2024.