Bridgend BC welcomed to Bowls Scotland

Bridgend BC on the Isle of Islay is the latest club to join Bowls Scotland for the new season.

Islay, in the Inner Hebrides, has a population of around 3,000 but it can reach 10,000 at the height of the tourist season, and the club is right in the centre of the island.

Kenny Millar of Bridgend BC explains the club's inception.

"Interested locals got together around 35 years ago to create what was no more than a two-lane bowling alley on the site of the former drying green for Bridgend Hotel. Fairly soon afterwards, it was extended to a full-sized green. It’s a big green, almost 40 metres square."

The club is maintained on a voluntary basis by its members, who also maintain a 12-hole informal putting green on the same site.

With members playing on Tuesday and Sunday afternoons and Thursday evenings, visitors are welcome to join them for a game, or play at any other time they want.

Visitors fees are inexpensive, and payment is via an ‘honesty box’. There are tea and cakes on Tuesdays and Sundays, and sometimes an informal competition with a raffle on Sundays.

"Islay has a huge number of visitors, not just to visit distilleries, but for bird watching, golf, sailing, to attend various festivals, the annual show and also to enjoy the sheer beauty of the place," says Kenny. "Most visitors have no idea that there are bowling facilities here, and that they are very welcome to use them! Everything is provided apart from flat shoes.

"We are very anxious to try to get more local people involved in the club. We have run sessions in the past for high school pupils with teachers present, and we have four sessions planned for this year. We ran a session last year for two old folks’ lunch clubs. None of them had ever played before; they had a great time.

"We ran a session for the Scouts last year too. We hope to be able to get the primary schools involved as well."

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