Markinch Curling Club was founded on the 27th of January 1842 at a meeting in the Galloway Inn in Commercial St. Markinch. Curling is known to have taken place in Markinch on “The Common” prior to the Club’s founding but there is little known about this. The Club possesses a complete set of hand written minutes from the inaugural meeting to the present day.
Among the nine founding members were Dr Bailey “surgeon of Markinch”, James Aitken of Newton farm, Mr James Thrift Smith and Mr Tullis; paper manufacturers and Mr Galloway proprietor of the Galloway Inn.
There have been three curling ponds in the Club’s history. The first opened in the winter of 1842 was on the North edge of the town on “the low lying ground at the foot of Archibald’s Park”. It was only played on for five years. It had to be closed in 1847 when the North Eastern Railway Company’s line to Cupar was built over the site. The Club received £15 in compensation. The second pond at Balfarg farm, the most successful of the Club’s ponds, being played on during the great days of outdoor curling in the cold winters in the latter half of the 19th century. It was opened in 1850 with a match against Stratheden and curled on every winter for 64 years. This pond was the venue for club games, district medals and inter-club challenge matches. A fine stone “curling house” was built with three rooms; the Laird’s room, the west room and the curling stone room. However in 1914 the club was again forced to move as with the coming of electricity to Balfarg farm the mill lade was drained and the source of water for the curling pond lost. A site for a new rink was found on “the common” in Markinch town itself. It was opened on the 6th of January 1914. The days of outdoor curling were beginning to draw to an end as with the opening of Haymarket Ice rink in 1912 outdoor curling was becoming less popular. This rink eventually closed in 1938 bringing to an end 96 years of outdoor curling in Markinch.
Curlers are made at the annual supper and court held each December. Curlers visiting from as far away as Canada and New Zealand have been made at Markinch.
Among the personalities and people connected with the Club are the Balfour family of Balbirnie, W.F. Haxton; schoolmaster of Markinch and Bob “Bing” Crosbie; chemist in the town. John Balfour became the Club’s “Patron in 1853 and he and his sons were regular curlers with the Club. Lady Balfour and her daughter were patronesses of the Club and in 1886 donated to the club its most prestigious trophy “the Silver Broom”, to be played for annually in “a point’s competition”. W.F. Haxton was secretary of the club for 44 eventful years from 1848 and “Bing” was secretary from 1952 to 1980, 28 even more eventful years!
The Club currently has thirty-four regular and occasional members who enjoy play at Kirkcaldy and Kinross ice rinks. The 2002-03 saw notable success in winning the East of Fife League and the Kirkcaldy Rink Championship. The Club has a long association with and plays annual matches against the Meldrum and Daviot club of Old Meldrum Aberdeenshire for the Moonie trophy, the Forret Club for the Lyell Fleming Bottle (where the cork is thrown into the fire), the Dunfermline Curling Club for the David Shaw Cup, Thornton Club for the John and Cally Shaw Cup, Glenrothes for the David Napier trophy and Pitlessie Curling Club.
Annual outings are held to Greenacres for the “Rusty Nails Weekend”, although memorably in 2014 this was held in Switzerland.