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Blackwaterfoot Bowls Club reaches its 40th anniversary this year. And to mark the anniversary year the club is holding some special events including bowls competitions and social events.
The club was founded in 1980 following a public meeting in Blackwaterfoot where location, sources of funding, governance etc. were discussed. A committee of 10 was formed under the chairmanship of Mr N M Alexander. There were 50 ‘founding members’ each contributing £100 (equivalent to £370 today), £625 from debenture holders, plus generous donations from the British Sports Council, Cunninghame District Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise Development Council to provide a financial start.
The club is situated adjacent to Shiskine Golf and Tennis Club on the site of one of the original club tennis courts. The club initially used the golf clubhouse, but when this was knocked down in 2010 they erected some sheds for storage and used a bus shelter until they built a modern pavilion-style clubhouse in 2015. This also serves as a useful venue for meetings and teas.
The club is unique to Arran in that the surface is an all-weather – snow excluded – all year outdoor carpet (36.6 x 18.5 metres) with four rinks. The original cost was £25,000. The playing surface comprises a concrete base, an underlay and then a weather-resistant carpet on top.
The carpet has been replaced twice, once in 1997, then again in 2016. This latter event was a very drawn out affair as the carpet was felt to be substandard with ripples forming on it in hot weather due to expansion. But, thanks to the persistent efforts of member Keith Thompson, a new and satisfactory carpet was eventually fitted. The club is very grateful to the Weir Charitable Trust for a considerable donation at this time.
Of the original 50, Victor Iutz is the only remaining playing member (tempus fugit!), but he not only remains an active member, he is also club president.
We currently have 18 members and play regularly on Saturdays and Tuesdays throughout the year. The club enjoys numerous social activities both at the club and elsewhere. Membership is good value at £40 per annum, considering that in 1980 membership was £15 per annum, equivalent to £55 today.
Club members also compete in the island-wide competitions, winning the Federation Laidler Gardner trophy in 2004 and again in 2018.
Bowls play is open to visitors – both local and holiday makers – and the club supply everything needed; bowls (adult and junior sizes), jacks and mats which are stored at the clubhouse. Prices are only £3 per person and accompanied children under 16 are free.
Tennis court at Shiskine Golf and Tennis Club where bowls club is now sited, date c. 1930. NO_B06bowls01
Club match 2011, pre new pavilion. Vic Iutz, President is 3rd from right. NO_B06bowls02
Celebrating the 2018 Federation Cup win. NO_B06bowls03
Carpet laying, outdoor style! NO_B06bowls04
Both young and older players are always welcome. NO_B06bowls05