Swiss Tour Latest
Posted on Friday, November 21, 2014 at 10:00am
The Tour Party arrived at Murrayfield Ice Rink to be greeted by Area 5 Rep, John Good and a resplendent Piper. Assisting John were Neil Calvert and Area 5 President, Robin Aitken who attempted to yodell along with Maya.
Soup and sandwiches were served for lunch and prior to the Final Game against the RCCC Curlers, Tour Courier had to source a Scotland Rugby Top for Mani the Swiss who earlier on Tour received a blood transfusion and his surname is now McWillen.
Both RCCC President David Henderson and Vice President, Billy Howat were presented with Swiss Cow Bells. Billy can of course put his Bell to good use as he is Dairy farmer from Ayrshire.
The Final Dinner was enjoyed by over 100 Curlers and their Partners and the evening ended up with a Giant Conga to the music from the Swiss Musicians.
All to soon it was time for Auld Lang Syne and to say our farewells to the Swiss and those who either Curled or met the Tour Party will retain fond memories of the 2014 Swiss Curling Tour to Scotland.
A morning game for the Swiss at Forfar where they received a warm welcome from the Area 9 Curlers comprising the 3 Provinces of Angus, Dundee and North and South Esk.
The games went well for the Tourists to-day even after Stacking the Brooms after the 4th end as the Swiss won the games overall 2.5 to 1.5.
Jennifer Brown, the Angus Province President delivered the First Ceremonial Stone prior to the games commencing and along with Helen Smith, Dundee Province President they were of valued assistance to Area 9 Representative, Brian McArtney in organising the day and the previous evening so well.
Before heading South to Edinburgh, the final stop on the Tour, all the Curlers enjoyed Lunch at Forfar Ice Rink which included the Forfar Bridies.
Thanks also go to the Ice Rink Owner, Mike Ferguson who played his Cards Right along with his Staff for good memories for the Tourists from their time in the Angus Area.
After leaving the Capital of the Highlands, Inverness the Swiss Tour Party visited Ben Romach Distillery at Forres. We enjoyed our Tour of this small but very interesting Distillery who are making Malt Whisky on more traditional lines. Richard Urquhart advised us that he was due to visit Geneva and Zurich next week to promote their excellent product.
We arrived slightly late in Aberdeen and were met by Albert Middler and the Aberdeen Area Curlers. The Ice was good and so were the local Curlers winning 4 matches to 1. After a quick drink at the Ice Rink we headed south for overnight stop at the Glenesk Hotel, Edzell where we enjoyed an excellent dinner with entertainment from a local Piper and Bothy Ballads from Joe Aitken. The Swiss are still trying to work out what are Nicky Tams.
In the morning the majority of the Tour group enjoyed a trip down Loch Ness and a visit to Castle Urquhart. Two of the party managed to Golf at Inverness Golf Club.
We then went to Inverness Ice Rink and met the Curlers from Area 10 which is made of 5 Provinces, Grampian, Inverness, Moray, Ross-shire and Sutherland. After enjoying Asher the Bakers famous Pies along with Scotch Broth the Curlers took to the Ice. The games were even at 2.5 each and a wee Dram of Ben Romach was enjoyed at Stacking the Broom time
In the evening a lovely Dinner was enjoyed by all the company at the Kingsmills Hotel and we were well entertained by Local Chanteuse, Holly Atkinson and Heather McRae joined the Swiss entertainers to add a Bit of Scottish Music that, Fritz, Reto and Toni enjoyed playing. Maya was again on top form and enchanted the company. The Tour now moves on to Aberdeen after some great Highland Hospitality.
Pictured left: The Swiss tourists enjoying some of the famous Asher’s pies. Pictured above: Jill Asher and Holly Atkinson
Pictured bottom left the Swiss musical entertainment at Inverness
Switch over of Driver and Courier, Kevin Daly and George Delgaty taking over from Steve Scott and Joe Barry who both did an excellent job looking after the Tour Party.
After enjoying the Curling and the facilities at the Peak, Stirling, especially the young Curlers who enjoyed their day and the Swiss entertainment.
We then headed West to Braehead to curl against Glasgow, Argyllshire and Dunbartonshire Curlers, 5 games with honours even at 2.5 matches each. However the Clyde Steamers had their effect on some of our Visitors with some falling on the Ice and are now nursing more bruises.
The Area 4 Curlers were very good hosts and after Dinner the Fuchs guys and Maya entertained the company. The highlight was the Bells and no it was not the. whisky variety, expertly rung by Maya and Fritz.
Onward on SUNDAY heading North with a visit to the Famous Grouse Distillery at Crieff for an informative Tour conducted by Charlie from the Distillery. Stops were also made at Perthshire Visitor Centre and House of Bruar where their Annual sale was taking place, a bit of Retail Therapy for the Swiss.
Photos: © Leslie Ingram Brown
An 8am departure brought the Swiss, in good time, to Lanarkshire Ice Rink where they were to spend the whole day. They only won two of their eight games despite playing well against some of the strongest teams they have encountered so far. The day was well coordinated by the local Province Committees and the Lanarkshire boys played a full part in the evening’s entertainment.
Two of the Swiss men spent another day in Rosshall Hospital, where one of them was receiving a blood transfusion. He was so pleased with his new Scottish blood that he was delighted to carry the Saltire into the newly reopened Peak Ice Rink the next day!
Stirling Young Curlers had given up their ice to allow the visitors to play but they played a full part in the morning’s proceedings. They met them with a piper and joined in the arch of brooms. They delivered a ceremonial first stone and supplied the team that represented Stirlingshire Province. Indeed, their side, skipped by Alastair Tweedie, were the only team to beat the Swiss this morning. Alastair had to draw the four foot with his last stone to win 6-5. The tourists, now back to full strength, won the other three games at Stirling before they left with a new bus driver and courier. They have played eleven of their games by Saturday lunchtime with six more to go including a loop round the North of Scotland.
A tour of Culzean Castle with morning coffee was arranged for the Swiss this morning, followed by a gargantuan lunch at the Blair Tavern. Andrew Kerr the Area 1 Representative accompanied the party and after lunch transported two of them to Rosshall Hospital as one of the group required treatment for an underlying condition. Apart from that, injuries, aching joints and some spectacular bruises are taking their toll on the Swiss who are not in the first flush of youth.
Hostilities were renewed at Greenacres and the Scots beat the depleted Swiss teams by two and a half games to one and a half before a fine buffet was served.
RCCC members may be wondering why they are not seeing a running tally of the scores from these matches as they would expect when Scotland play tours from Canada or USA. The reason being that the Swiss Tour is considered to be a Friendship Tour, there is no trophy at stake so the matches at each venue are more like Bonspiels.
The Swiss were to have the kind of roller coaster day that only a curling tour can provide. An early start at Stranraer seemed to help the visitors where they ran out winners by two and a half games to one and a half. Half way through the games it was realised that super skip, Reto Muhlemann Fuchs, was struggling with a recurring back muscle problem and would need some treatment. No problem to the amazing staff at North West Castle. They arranged a nearby appointment and a chauffeur at such short notice that after seven ends, Reto had to leave his team to close out the game. He was whisked away to a nearby physiotherapist and was on his treatment table before the game was over!
After a light lunch they headed up the road to Ayr past the land slips caused by six inches of rain that fell last Thursday. They also had a brief stop to take some photos of Ailsa Craig. At this point of the tour the Swiss had won exactly half of the games that they had played and had gained some momentum, but they were about to hit the buffers.
They started well enough against the curlers of Ayr Ice Rink but at the stacking of the brooms they were given a Clyde Steamer and thereafter the local teams left them trailing in their wake and cruised home with four wins. If the tourists were feeling a little bruised at this point they were revived by a terrific dinner with Helen Moonie the Provost of South Ayrshire Council amongst the 72 diners. Some Scottish tunes were supplied by accordionist Andrew Jones and an amusing poem from Jimmy Begg. The Fuchs family were in top form tonight and the place was jumping. One of the locals was overheard saying ‘that was the best night ever’. A great endorsement for organisers Andrew Kerr, Billy Howat and all the staff and volunteers at Ayr.
Photo below : Liz Boswell
The four games at Lockerbie were interrupted at 11am for a respectful minute’s silence, and again, after four ends to stack the brooms. The visitors who had started the games brightly, appeared to slump slightly after their whiskey, before pulling away to win three and a half games to a half.
The theme of remembrance was continued as the party left Lockerbie. Accompanied by Marion Murdoch, they laid a wreath at the grave of Matt Murdoch as Maya sang a lament for the great man (pictured below).
At the same graveyard they were able to see the Garden of Remembrance for those killed in the 1988 disaster.
They paused briefly for a rather soporific tour of Sulwath Brewery at Castle Douglas before taking off to Stranraer. They received a welcoming drink courtesy of the North West Castle Hotel before a relaxed dinner was shared with some of the local organisers. Adjourning to the curler’s bar they watched as Hammy MacMillan and sister Gail Munro played in a local pairs competition.
A busy Gail had just returned from Perth (a round trip of six hours) where she had attended a joint meeting and had curled for the LSC against the ASC in the Priestfield Cup.
The second half of the itinerary from Monday 15th onwards is now available. To find out if they are coming to an ice rink near you go to Swiss Curling Tour- 2nd Leg of Tour
Pictured below: Erwin Ochsner guides his skip’s stone into the house as Rae Graham and his team want it to wreck on the guard
On Monday the 10th November the Swiss managed to fit in a visit to a foggy Floors Castle. The main gates were opened specially for them and they were given an interesting tour of the interior by two local guides, who in turn were treated to a song from Maya Rymann in the ballroom.
Thereafter back to the Border Ice rink where four, keenly contested, matches gave the Swiss two wins and a peel. The peeled game came as a surprise as Silve Bisang went into the last end four down without the hammer. Pictured left Silve Bisang’s team at Kelso.
The Border Province missed out on the last tour, but the Swiss left Kelso with a lasting taste of the very best that the Borders can provide.
The next leg of their journey brought them to Lockerbie where a splendid dinner was held at the Somerton Hotel. Christine Ross, the Dumfriesshire Province President welcomed the Tourists and team captain Bruno Schallberger replied on their behalf. RCCC President David Henderson replied to the toast to the RCCC before entertainment was provided by Caroline Sharkey a local chanteuse followed by the, now legendary, Fuchs family.
Pictured below, the Swiss outside a foggy Floors Castle.
Sunday 9th November was scheduled to be a free day for the Swiss but it certainly wasn’t an uneventful one. A prompt departure from Perth allowed them to arrive at Edinburgh and be on top of Calton Hill before the gun was fired at Edinburgh Castle to begin the two minutes silence for Remembrance Sunday. A moving experience for all. Pictured left: Swiss tourists on top of Calton Hill.
Sally Duncanson, a local guide, gave them a tour of the city, ending on the castle esplanade, before they were let loose in the city for a few hours. They then journeyed South to Kelso where a sumptuous dinner was provided at the Border Ice Rink.
A Curler’s Court followed and a team of volunteers ensured that 13 Swiss and two Scots we’re appropriately made. Little can be said of the proceedings; let’s just say that it was a birthday that Freddy Meister will always remember.
Picture right: Birthday boy, Freddy Meister, outside Holyrood palace.
The Swiss Tour of Scotland kicked off at Kinross with a match against the 2009 Scots tourists on Friday 7th November. The home team won three games to one before the opening banquet at the Green Hotel attended by the RCCC president David Henderson and Vice President Billy Howat. The highlight of the evening was the entertainment provided by the three Swiss musicians amongst the party, playing a variety of instruments and accompanied by Maya Rymann, one of Switzerland’s most distinguished yodellers.
Pictured: Reto lines up before the game against Alan Chalmer’s Strathmore Province team
The next morning they curled against the Area 7 curlers at Kinross winning two of the four games before they took on the provinces of Area 8, where some strong opposition won four of the five games played.
Reto Muhlemann-Fuchs was the star for the Swiss on Saturday as he skipped his team to two victories before joining the musicians,playing the accordion and even giving a rendition of Edelweiss on the saw!
At The banquet in the Dewars Centre at Perth the visitors were wonderfully entertained with music from the Perth Strathspey and Reel Society and dancing from the Julie Young Dancers. Pictured: Reto playing the saw after a hard day’s curling. Maya holding the microphone.
The Swiss Tour to Scotland 2014 gets underway today. Here they are photographed leaving Switzerland on their way to Scotland. The first stop of the tour will be Kinross this evening, where there will be a Welcome Dinner in their honour. Even if you are not playing against them, find out if they are coming to an ice rink near you and take a part in their unique visit Swiss Tour Itinerary 2014.
Here is a photo of the Swiss delegation on their way to Scotland.