‘Frae Land o’ Lakes to land o’ Cakes’: Curling, Scotland, Sweden, and historical undercurrents

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article uses curling to explore the relationship between Scotland and Sweden during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A long-term formal and (after the Union of 1707) informal relationship existed between the nations, particularly with regard to the Thirty Years’ War and Jacobitism, both of which established a Scottish presence in Gothenburg. Curling entered Sweden through this pipeline in the early- to mid-nineteenth century, with Sweden's first known club, Bohuslän Curling Club (Bohuslänska Curlingklubben), formed at Uddevalla in 1852 by the Thorburn-Macfie family and associates; the family ran an industrial concern selling oats for horses powering London's expanding transport network. Curling remained confined to Uddevalla until the first Nordic Games (Nordiska Spelen) in 1901, whereby the sport became part of a programme emphasising elite ideas of sport. Later iterations of the Games would feature Scottish curlers. In the 1920s and 1930s, semi-regular trips were also arranged between Scotland and Sweden by the Royal Caledonian Curling Club (RCCC) and the Swedish Curling Union (Svensk Curlingförbundet); here, while the game was placed within a contemporary royalist, martial, and racial context by RCCC and public officials, reference points recalled the pre-Union relationship between the two nations as pertained to the Thirty Years’ War.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSport in History
Early online date15 May 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 May 2021


  • curling
  • history of sport
  • Scotland
  • Sweden


Dive into the research topics of '‘Frae Land o’ Lakes to land o’ Cakes’: Curling, Scotland, Sweden, and historical undercurrents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this