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West: Day 12 – Banff

Feeling refreshed after a day’s break from curling we rose for an 8am breakfast. The hotel failed to brief their early morning staff sufficiently, so some of us managed to enjoy some of the excellent a la carte options this morning rather than the buffet. However, the buffet selection was still about the best we’ve experienced so far this trip. Swift morning class at 8:55am. Funds are healthy.

Everybody is buzzing for today. There’s a strong feeling that Banff will be a contender for one of the highlights of the West tour. Not that there have been any lowlights. The entire tour experience so far has surpassed all expectations.

Banff Curling Club is a beautiful fir-wood timber structure with a curved ceiling and huge windows from ceiling to floor. It’s absolutely stunning to look at. We are actually playing against teams from both Banff and nearby Canmore Curling Clubs who have joined together to make this a combined effort. The morning curling was challenging with mixed results but a plus 3 outcome for Scotland overall.

Before lunch everybody was asked to stand up and introduce their opposite number to the rest of the group. It was a nice touch and very appropriate for the circumstances on this occasion. There’s a lovely friendly feel to this place and we each received a gift of a nice Banff Curling Club beanie hat.

We were really dialled in this afternoon and gained 19 more shots. A great performance all round and plus 22 for the day.

Nice dinner at the club followed by speeches and poems and the customary tour song. The acoustics in the building were amazing. We sounded absolutely professional tonight, even if I do say so myself.

We have all been invited to the Salt Lick, which is a steak house and bar owned by James Sachkiw, who we curled against today. He has promised us happy hour prices all evening. 

Banff has been a wonderful and unforgettable experience all round. There was even a prize draw in which Malcolm and Niall each won Banff Curling Club hoodies.

It’s so easy to feel relaxed here in such wonderful surroundings with such a friendly, sociable group of curlers who have made us so welcome.

It’s one place I have vowed to revisit and I suspect that I am not alone with that sentiment. Today was our best day yet for lots of reasons.

Stephen McClymont