Curling - the new rock 'n' roll after the Sochi Winter Olympics?

By Louise AndrewBBC Scotland
People taking curling lesson
Hundreds of people have been trying out curling after watching it during the Sochi Winter Olympics

How many of us unexpectedly found ourselves glued to the curling at the Sochi Winter Olympics?

What was not to like? People sliding stones and shouting a lot, manic sweeping, chess-like tactics, snazzy outfits - who could forget the Norwegian curlers' trousers. And Team GB are good at it - a silver for the men and a bronze for the women.

But there's also that niggling feeling that it's a sport you could do if you practised.

There's something very reassuring about seeing what appear to be everyday people competing at the Olympics.

So that's how I came to be shuffling tentatively on the ice alongside about 30 other participants of a free Try Curlingexternal-link session (yes, free) at the Braehead curling rink in Glasgow.

The rink is among 22 across Scotland that are offering taster sessions and beginner lessons, as part of the sport's governing body, The Royal Caledonian Curling Club (RCCC), 2014 Try Curling initiative to get more people into the sport.

It felt a bit like ten-pin bowling, with a cross-section of families, students, work colleagues and friends all making a day of it.

It's one of the few sports where all ages, genders and abilities can play together and against each other. There's also a wheelchair club at Braehead.

Andrew Baldacci, 19, came along to the taster session with friends from his college course.

"We watched the Olympics on the television and we thought we should definitely come down and give it a try - we wanted to have a bit of fun.

"You get the tactics involved and you get the exercise. It's really enjoyable and definitely not just for older people."

People taking curling lesson
The taster sessions at Braehead attracted families, groups of friends and people who work together
People taking curling lesson
The event, being held over two weekends, will bring more than 400 people to the Glasgow rink
Kids and father after curling lesson
William Arbuckle from Renfrew brought his kids and their friends (from left: Emma, Emily, Jack and Scott) along to the curling rink, after his son watched the sport on the television

Coaches helped guide the participants through throwing the stones and also sweeping to help it to travel further as well as influence its direction.

Yvonne Anson, 42, said she had been meaning to try the sport for a while.

"It's a very interesting and exciting sport," she said. "It's been harder than I thought though. It looks a lot easier on the TV."

Scott Arbuckle, 10, from Renfrew, was among the younger participants to take to the ice for the first time.

"I saw it on the TV and I really liked it," he said. "I really enjoyed the session today, but sweeping was the worst part."

After throwing only a couple of stones, which fail to reach the target, I also feel hooked.

I can see why the "roaring" game was so popular in the 19th Century, when it can be said emphatically that it was the Scottish game.

Norwegian curlers
Norway's curlers wore different pairs of mutli- coloured, zig-zag patterned trousers during their matches in Sochi

"It's still is the Scottish sport," insists David Horne, the development officer for curling at Braehead.

"This is where it started in 1541 and we're right up in the top - you can see that at the recent Olympics where we've just come back with silver and bronze."

Years of dedication

It's hoped the Try Curling campaign will ensure Team GB will continue to have success in the sport.

David added: "We think we're going to get at least 400 through the door.

"And even if we only get 10% of that back that's 40 more curlers next season than we had this season."

However, for those who think they could become an Olympic star in the sport, David warns that while it's an easy game for anyone to play, it's a hard game to reach the top.

"It takes years and years of dedication and a lot of hard work and a lot of time," he said.

However, I'm sure there were no shortage of Olympic dreams starting out on the ice rink in Braehead this week.

Scott's dad, William, 43 agreed. "My son Scott said to me on the way down maybe he could be a curler in the Olympics - quote!"

If the Sochi Winter Olympics has motivated you to try a new sport, go to the BBC's Get Inspired pages for more information.