Battle on the pistes

Sheer good spirits and joie de vivre shone through on Thursday evening at the Auld Alliance Boules evening.

This was organised by Stow Parish Archive Group as part of Stow Sports Week who decided in a fit of historic madness to celebrate the special relationship between France and Scotland, the “Auld Alliance” by bringing petanque to Stow. We have unearthed some interesting connections with France and Galawater in the medieval period, as well as tracing the history of curling, bowls and boules. However, for most people who braved the rain, there were memories of times in France where the clink of metal on metal in sun-baked dirt, shaded by trees in Mediterranean towns, is accompanied with heated repartee fired with sloshes of pastis. Thursday evening was another scenario – more a clink of beer glasses, the slosh of boules sliding through puddles, and cheery chat whilst queuing for fish and chips. Nevertheless, eight teams rose to the challenge and the tournament was played out to the finale under the expert guidance of some marvellous people from the Scottish Petanque Association – Colin and Maggs Mortimer from the Inverleith Club in Edinburgh and Colin Stewart from Penicuik Petanque Club.

The winning team, the McHodgners, went home with some French wine and the rest of us kept our spirits up with French brie and Scottish oatcakes. Thank you to Stow Primary School for letting us use their piste . There is now some talk of setting up a permanent piste in Stow – if you’re game – get in touch!

More photos at

2 Responses

  1. Marcus
    Marcus June 25, 2012 at 9:22 am | | Reply

    It was a great evening. Many thanks to the Stow parish Archive and all involved for organising. I’d definately be interested in a permanent site…

  2. Colin Stewart
    Colin Stewart October 18, 2012 at 4:31 pm | | Reply

    It was an absolute pleasure to help. We are always on hand to give advice and help you. Please do come back to us if you want help with building the piste (including labour – I’m quite used to shifting tonnes of gravel by hand having done it several times for other clubs) or promoting it to your community via open days etc. We may also be able to help securing the purchase of sets of boules at discounted rates.

    Kind regards
    Colin Stewart
    President – Penicuik Petanque
    Committee Member – Scottish Petanque Association

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