Sports and leisure

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Dunblane's original Golf Course, laid out by Old Tom Morris and opened in 1892


In January 2019, local sports historian, Andy Mitchell, gave a talk to Dunblane Local History Society about the town's fantastic sporting heritage

Today, of course, Dunblane has a great sporting hall of fame. One immediately thinks of Andy and Jamie Murray, who have brought considerable prestige to the town, but there are many other sporting giants among us. To name just a few:

  * Fiona Brown and Frankie Brown could be part of the Scotland women’s football squad at the World Cup this summer
  * Louise Martin (made a Dame in the recent honours list) is president of the Commonwealth Games Federation
  * Elaine Hopley rowed across the Atlantic in record time
  * Callum Davidson, now coaching, played for Scotland at football, having also represented Scotland at golf and tennis as a boy
  * Grant McPherson was an ice hockey ace

That list could easily be added to.
Yet there was a time when sport was even more of an integral part of life here.

Dunblane offered an extraordinary range of sporting opportunities in the 19th century. Despite the town population being less than a third of what it is now, there were clubs for curling, bowling, football, golf, cricket, quoiting, cycling and angling. There were annual sports meetings each summer, shooting competitions for the Volunteers, and Dunblane Hydro boasted a tennis court and a croquet lawn.

Click here to download a pdf of Andy's talk about those sporting activities, as he attempted to explain why Dunblane had such a vibrant athletic culture, and reveal that some of our Victorian sporting heritage is still with us, even though you may not have noticed it.

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Curling pond laid out in Dunblane's Laigh Hills in the 1830s - the site layout is still visible

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Dunblane FC in 1888, with the Perthshire Cup, a trophy they won 12 times


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Up the Mighty…                                                                                           

Do your kids love sport, getting covered in mud and having a great time? Of course they do and the answer is to come along to the Mighty McLaren Mini Rugby Club on Saturday mornings.

The club is open to girls and boys of primary school age and our key focus is to provide a safe fun-filled outdoor experience for kids as they learn about rugby. The club is Scottish Rugby Union-affiliated with 60 playing members and has been going since 1990.

This season McLaren Mini Rugby Club has been enjoying one of its most successful seasons ever. It’s a great way to build confidence in kids and to make friends from other local schools. We have players from Tyndrum to Dunblane and everywhere in between, but we’re always looking for new players, especially Primary 1s.

The coaching staff are a dedicated bunch of rugby ‘legends’, both past and past it, who are committed to the club and the kids. For the Primary 1s and 2s, it’s all about running and having fun, with a game of bulldogs the firm favourite at the end of each Saturday morning session.

From Primary 3, the teams play touch rugby games and tournaments that are competitive but focussed on participation for all. These fixtures always end with a hot dog or a burger for the kids - and sometimes even the adults!   

If you go past the playing field behind Callander Primary School on a Saturday morning at 9am during the school term, you’ll see kids in their black and yellow training tops having fun and getting muddy.  Sometimes it’s most fun in the rain. Every member gets their own ‘team name’ and most have this proudly printed on the back of their training kit. It’s a special moment (or a difficult one, depending on your point of view) for parents to see their little darling transformed into ‘Crusher’, ‘The Missile’ or ‘The Hawk’, and it all adds to the fun and team spirit! 

The 2018/19 season started in August with ‘Rugby Force Day’

This is an SRU initiative to get support for grass roots rugby and aims to encourage more girls and boys into rugby. This involved obstacle courses, cross bar challenges, tackle the parent and other fun games, all helping the kids understand the basics of rugby.

The club has played in four tournaments this season so far at Stirling County, Tillicoutry (Hillfoots RFC), Dundee & Fintry (Strathendrick RFC). We’ve enjoyed great success - the P4s and P5s have won all four tournaments and focusing on the kids enjoying themselves is certainly paying off, with some great performances from all involved.

Primary 4 National Champions 2018 (@Dundee Eagles)

From L to R Back Row (Backs): Brodie Horne, Oscar Underwood, Joel Gudgeon, Archie Colquhoun.

From L to R Front Row (Forwards): Blane Forbes-Hayes, Jamie Suttie, Bruce Fowler, Jake Johnston, Calvin McIntyre.

The P4s have just started to tackle this season and love getting stuck in. Their defensive strength coupled with some amazing running and free flowing try scoring have hit the spot to beat teams from Crieff to Mackie (Stonehaven) and from Glasgow to Currie in the Borders.

The P5s are getting to grips (literally) with the more physical side of the game and their commitment, skills and great passing moves have seen them unbeaten this season. 

Primary 5 National Champions 2018 (@Dundee Eagles)

Primary 5 Coach – Andrew Fowler

From L to R Back Row (Backs): Kier Mather, Sandy Bateman, Alastair Ruskell, Archie Little, Ruaraidh Fowler.

From L to R Front Row (Forwards): Thomas Picton, AJ MacMillian, Jamie Campbell, JJ McIntyre.

These great performances have meant that the club is one of seven clubs to be selected by the SRU to take part in a Festival of Rugby at the Oriam Facility in Edinburgh. This festival will be filmed throughout and used as part of the SRU’s development programme internationally.

We hope to keep you up to date with regular reports, so this article is to introduce you and your kids to the Mighty McLaren Mini Rugby Club if you don’t already know who we are.

Feel free to come along to see what it’s all about or contact Head Coach, Richard Underwood on 07824 885218 for more information.

Up the Mighty!!!

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What is Nia ?  It is a 30 year old worldwide form of movement for fitness and health - adaptable for all kinds of personal goals, age and fitness levels.  Each Nia Teacher brings their own essence to the form inspired and informed by a worldwide and Scottish community of teachers and trainers.

Why have you never heard of Nia ? - it is not pushed as the next and only thing but rather has grown low-profile through, well really just people loving it.  Investment is instead in constant improvement and teacher training.

What is Special about it ?  - too much to tell you here - but 3 things are:-

* it's more than a fitness class - there is a community and dip in delights to follow outside the class to allow you to enrich & enhance your health and wellbeing in various ways

* the glorious music

* the delightful yet effective way we move - ideally barefoot but shoes are an optio


Taekwon-do classes are held in the Braeport Centre every monday 6-7pm; every Tuesday 7-30pm to 8-30pm and every Saturday 10am to 11 am. Tiger cubs class are on Saturday 11-10am to 11-55am.

Welcome to our buggy and bump walks in Stirling, Bridge of Allan and Dunblane. All walks are free and are on every week, even during the school holidays.  Our walks are for parents and mums to be.  All our walks are led by qualified walk leaders. Meet other new parents and babies, improve your fitness and join us at one of our new buggy walks from our new buggy walking group. Walks run across Stirling, are FREE for parents, grandparents, childminders or carers and are led by qualified walk leaders .  Each walk finishes at a venue where you can stop for a coffee and chat afterwards, and share your new parent experiences with others.


In the Dunblane Centre, Mondays at 8pm. It's fun, friendly and a great way to get fit.

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Dunblane Fencing Club is a family focused community based club. 
We welcome fencers from beginners to serious competitors. 
We meet on Mondays 6-9 pm, Tuesdays and Wednesdays 6-8 pm at Dunblane High School.

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