By Jody Harrison

IT is one of the oldest team sports in the world, invented by Scots and exported across the world wherever they settled.

And now a slice of curling history

is expected to sweep up thousands of pounds at auction after being discovered in Glasgow during

a spring clean.

A store of 125 granite stones discovered by officials at Partick Curling Club, believed to be the largest single collection ever to go under the hammer, will be sold at McTear’s Sporting Medals and Trophies Auction next week.

The club itself is one of the oldest in the world, having been formed in 1842 and the outdoor stones all date to the very early part of the 20th century when its clubhouse and rink were built in Glasgow’s Victoria Park.

The collection includes stones made of Crawfordjohn and Burnock Water granites, which are no longer able to be reproduced as all modern ones are made from material harvested from Ailsa Craig or a quarry in Wales.

Estimates for each pair of stones range from £100 to £250, with the sale expected to raise more than £7,000, which will be used to help fund the club’s activities.

Pat Shaw, a past president of Partick Curling Club, said: “The stones have been with the club for more than a hundred years and we feel the time is right for some new curlers to get enjoyment from them.

“They are all outdoor stones so with all these changing weather patterns it may be a while before the new owners can get the opportunity to use them.”

Curling is said to date to the 16th century and was first played on frozen ponds and lochs in Scotland using flat stones taken from riverbeds.

Known as “the roaring game” for the noise the stones make as they travel across the ice, the oldest stone dates from 1511 and was found, along with another bearing the date 1551, when an old pond was drained at Dunblane.

The first written reference to a contest using stones on ice comes from the records of Paisley Abbey, Renfrewshire, in February 1541.

The game was exported to the

Low Countries through trading links with Scotland, and with depictions of curlers being painted by Pieter Bruegel The Elder in 1565.

Scots have also taken curling around the world as they emigrated, most notably to Canada and New Zealand, where curling still remains popular.

It has also been picked up by Scandinavian countries, who regularly send teams to compete at the Olympic Games.

The sport’s biggest moment for Scots on the national stage came at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002, when Rhona Martin’s team of Scottish women won gold.

Partick Curling Club, founded in 1842, joined the Royal Caledonian Curling Club in 1849.

According to the club’s records, the first meeting of the “Partick Union Curling Society” was held on April 1, 1842, in the home of John Adams, spirit merchant, Burns Cottage, Partick.

The club took up a five-year lease at “Clayholes” in Hillhead in 1848, which was “to be levelled for the purpose of establishing a Curling Rink”.

The following year, on March 13, the members were initiated into the Royal Caledonian Curling Club. The pond was located west of Byres Road opposite the Curlers Tavern.

After playing at various locations in the west end of Glasgow it finally settled in Victoria Park. In 1900 a clubhouse was gifted to the club by Baillie William Kennedy, and three adjoining rinks by his two brothers.

Women members were admitted for the first time in 2015, following

a vote.

Mr Shaw added: “Two of the rinks were taken over as allotments during the First World War, but, weather permitting, the remaining rink was well-used over the years.

“The original lockers contained stones that were pressed into use, and a log fire and occasional dram helped to keep everyone warm and in good spirits while they rested from their labours.”

Some of the stones feature stainless steel or brass handles and ebony or rosewood grips, and are inscribed with their one-time owners’ initials. Some also come in their own fitted carry boxes.

In addition to the stones, the

70 lots on offer include a variety of brushes, handles and other curling items.

James Bruce, from McTear’s, said: “As coincidence would have it, both Partick Curling Club and McTear’s were founded in the same year, 1842.

“There is no doubt this is one of the finest collections of curling stones ever to come to auction.

“The stones are truly historic pieces of sporting equipment and tell a fascinating story of one of the world’s oldest curling clubs. It is

a pleasure to have them.”

The stones will be sold on March 13.