THE red carpet was rolled out on Kelso Ice Rink for a touring party of Candadian curlers last week.

Scottish Borders Council and Kelso Community Council put on the welcome for the team who are in Scotland to compete for one of the sport’s oldest trophies.

The historic Strathcona Cup is competed for every five years - on either side of the Atlantic.

Ahead of competition in Edinburgh which is currently ongoing this week, the 40-strong touring party travelled around Scotland.

And on Tuesday, 20 of them were welcomed to the Borders with a Town Hall civic reception in Kelso before playing against a South of Scotland Select team.

Council Convenor David Parker told the Border Telegraph: “I was delighted to welcome both teams to the Scottish Borders to celebrate the 115-year-old Strathcona Cup.

“The Cup is one of the most coveted in curling and is based around the friendship Canada and Scotland have had for many years.

“The Scottish Borders itself has strong connections with Canada, with Abbotsford, Selkirk, Melrose, Jedburgh and Coldstream all place names shared by our region and the North American country.

“It was a fantastic evening and I hope the Canadian squad has enjoyed their time in our region.”

Scotland are defending champions of the Strathcona Cup having won the challenge back in 2013 in Canada.

And a total of 20 players from the Borders will be attempting to help Scotland retain their crown during competition at Murrayfield Curling Rink.

Teams from Broughton, Eddleston, Newlands & Tarth Water, Peebles and West Linton have all been selected to play their Canadian counterparts during various sessions at Murrayfield.

A piper will lead the procession onto the ice at Murrayfield Curling Rink to open the capital's three-day competition.

Edinburgh Lord Provost Frank Ross, threw the first stone, said: “As someone who has spent many enjoyable hours on the ice, I am honoured to be throwing the first stone at this historic competition.”

Broughton United, featuring Benny Masterton, Douglas McKenzie, John Kay and Robert Dunlop, will be the first local rink onto the ice on Tuesday, closely followed in the afternoon by Robert Robertson, Robbie Brockie, Archie Smellie and Graeme Rodger representing Eddleston.

Newlands & Tarth Water's Alan Rose, Ian Rose, Sandy Anderson and Stewart Cairnd play on Wednesday morning.

And on the Wednesday afternoon the Peebles rink of Graeme Coulthard, Rob Goodburn, Andrew Muir and Roger Scott will be in action.

West Linton's team of Neil Calvert, Chris McDonald, John Dykes and Graham Rosie will face the Canadians on the Thursday,

The Strathcona Cup will next be played for in Canada during 2023.