During the first few days of 2010, The Lake of Menteith in the heart of the Trossachs, Scotland, completely froze over allowing thousands of intrepid visitors to venture onto the lake and make the journey on foot to the small island of Inchmahome, where there is an ancient monastery, its priory once serving as a refuge to Mary Queen of Scots in 1547.
The lake is not particularly deep and can freeze over in exceptionally cold winters. If the ice becomes thick enough - at least 7 inches - an outdoor curling tournament called The Bonspiel or the Grand Match is held. The last Grand Match was held in 1979 with over a thousand competitors on the ice.
For the first time in more than 30 years, the Royal Caledonian Curling Club was poised to confirm that a Bonspiel could in fact be held on the frozen lake. An estimated 2,000 curlers from across Scotland were set to converge and compete on 250 rinks specially cut in the ice.
Sadly, despite much excitement, anticipation and the prospect of 10,000 spectators, the planned Bonspiel was cancelled due to health and safety concerns. The emergency services and local authorities were unable to give their backing to the event leaving it uninsurable. Undaunted by this news, many hundreds of curlers and families decided to throw caution to the wind and make the pilgrimage, enjoying their sport and time on the lake whilst conditions were absolutely perfect.
The photographs in this book document just some of the people who embraced the exciting opportunity before them - a possible once-in-a-lifetime experience. I would like to thank everyone who agreed to have their photograph taken and for making Lake People possible.
Glasgow’s George Hotel existed for 162 years, during which time it proved popular with stars of stage and screen as well as other rich and famous personalities of the times. For example, before leaving for fame and fortune in Hollywood 16 year old Arthur Stanley Jefferson, later better known as Stan Laurel, took up residency during his debut stage run at the nearby Britannia Panopticon theatre.
Even during its darker latter years of decline and neglect the George continued to serve celebrity culture, despite acting as a shelter for lost souls and the homeless, allowing its raw faded grandeur to be used by the creative industries. They were lured by its distressed yet ornate décor and unique atmosphere, utilising the rooms and corridors for numerous fashion shoots and music videos.
Trainspotting, the iconic British film of the mid-90s, was partly filmed at the George, doubling as a seedy London location. In particular room 5, a circular bedroom with an ornate cornice, was used as the rendezvous point for a notorious drug deal scene and its violent aftermath.
Sadly, soon afterwards, Glasgow City Council granted permission for the demolition of the George in order to construct some new units for retail chains, including Europe’s largest Virgin Megastore (later to become Zavvi.co.uk). The hotel was demolished during 1998-99, with only some elements of the original façade retained.
The photographs in this book were taken in April 1998.