Borlands Quoits, Auchentibber

It never fails to amaze me of the generosity of some people. On 17th March 2016, my doorbell went and Mrs Hazel Gibson, of Auchentibber was standing on my doorstep with a bag. She proceeded to show me a photo of old Auchentibber and invited me to see the contents of the bag, which contained 2 of the Auchentibber Quoits. Dating to around 1910 – 1920 these quoits belonged to Borland, one of the players of the famous cup winning team in High Blantyre of that era.

2016 Auchentibber 1920s quoit

Borland’s Quoit from Auchentibber, with teaspoon for scale

Borland’s Land was located in Auchentibber adjacent to the current Graystones Cottage (formerly known as ‘The Nest’)

The quoits were in remarkably good condition and covered in dirt, as they had been out in the garden at Hazel’s home. Having no need for them, she kindly offered them to me, something I was only too happy to accept, and in return gave her one of my books.

The pair of quoits are exceptionally heavy, deceptively so. They have a comfortable grip fashioned into the iron ring, which feels fitted to the shape of a hand. On the underside, were drilled holes, filled with lead, which would have been used to balance, or align the quoit to the throwing style of the gamer. As such, this made quoits a personal piece of equipment.

2016 Auchentibber 1920s quoit2

Borlands Quoit, reverse side with lead filled holes for balance

After cleaning them up, I couldn’t resist trying to throw one in my garden. I was lucky to throw it 10 feet, let alone 18 (and if I’m honest here, think I did something to my shoulder! I wouldn’t have made a good quoit player).

Owning a quoit, especially a Blantyre one is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It now sits amongst my most treasured memorabilia of this town. My search on and offline for a quoit in recent years was hopeless as they’re real difficult to come by. I sincerely appreciate Hazel’s gift and with her permission, I’ve split the pair, giving one of them to Mr Gordon Cook of Blantyre Heritage Group, whom I know has also been looking for one. As such, on 18th March 2016, Borland’s pair of quoits were split between 2 men who earlier that day, each  collected a community award for their interest and efforts in recording Blantyre’s history.

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