Curling brings an intricate, tactical back-and-forth game to a sheet of ice.
Unlike the artistic flair of figure skating, raw power of speed skating or physicality of ice hockey, curlers rely primarily on strategy, judgement and pinpoint accuracy.
The aim is to finish the game with your stones closest to the centre of a circular target zone, called the house.
One of the game's most recognisable features is the sweeper - you will see two sweepers, with brushes, skating ahead of each stone and sometimes frantically brushing the ice in front of it. This keeps the ice slick and keeps the stone moving - stop sweeping at the right time, and the stone will come to rest in exactly the right place.
Why is it good for you?
Curling is an exercise for both body and mind, requiring concentration alongside physical stamina. The better you get, the more your skills on ice will develop.
If you'd like to try curling for the first time visit
. You'll find everything you need here to get started including the basics of the game and how to play, the latest Try Curling taster sessions and Beginners Classes taking place near you, locations of ice rinks and curling clubs across the country and links to regional and national curling events to see Scotland's top curlers in action.
Among the home nations, curling is a predominantly Scottish affair - and
The Royal Caledonian Curling Club
, the National Governing Body for Curling in Scotland, offers a number of options for budding curlers looking to learn the game including various public curling initiatives, competitions and summer camps.
Curling opportunities south of the border are currently more limited. Check the websites of
Curling in England
Welsh Curling Association
, and the
Irish Curling Association
for news and links to local clubs.
Scotland is generally accepted as the birthplace of curling, a sport whose stones are associated with the granite of Ailsa Craig.
Initially played on frozen lochs, the sport's biggest events (and even most smaller ones) now take place inside climate-controlled indoor rinks.
During the 19th Century, nations such as Canada, Norway and the United States began to compete internationally alongside Scotland, with men's curling making its Winter Olympic debut in 1924.
The International Curling Federation was formed in the 1960s to govern the game, and women's curling entered the Olympics (alongside the reintroduction of the men's event) at the Nagano Games of 1998 in Japan.