Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The rink is currently home to 40 clubs

A major curling rink has announced its closure, leaving more than 40 clubs without a training facility.

On Friday, users of the curling rink at intu Braehead, a leisure and shopping complex in Renfrewshire, were told the rink would close at the end of the current curling season.

By the end of March 2020, about 700 curlers will be without a home.

The facility operator said user numbers had declined and it could no longer subsidise the rink.

It will close in the same week Glasgow welcomes the World Men's Curling Championships to the Emirates Arena.

Alan Hannah, chairman of the Braehead Curling Development Group, said numbers using the rink had dropped from about 900 to 700 in the past three years but that there was no alternative local venue.

'Other options'

He said: "The members are disappointed. There is no other rink in the Glasgow area. We asked if we could come in as a tenant of the rink but that was not possible.

"Some people could see this coming but others are angry and disappointed. Some people will end up giving it up.

"And it will be a challenge to accommodate our youth and wheelchair groups elsewhere."

He said members would try to explore other options to keep their clubs together and were holding emergency meetings this week.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Braehead curling rink will close next year

No performance athletes currently train at the Braehead site but Olympian Eve Muirhead has recently been involved in open sessions for members of the public.

The sport's governing body Scottish Curling said it was working with the Glasgow curling community to find a solution.

Chief executive Bruce Crawford told the BBC: "It has been a huge shock to the curling community in Scotland that such a significant facility as Braehead is ceasing operation.

"But the resilience and determination of that same community is gathering momentum and I think we will be able to create a new opportunity.

"Glasgow is too big a city to not have a curling facility on its doorstep."

'Deep regret'

The intu Braehead rink is the joint largest facility in Scotland with eight lanes.

It is has been the venue for the prestigious Glynnhill Women's international competition for six years.

Centre director for intu Braehead, Peter Beagley, said: "It is with deep regret that we have announced the closure of the curling rink.

"We haven't taken this decision lightly, however, with the declining numbers of people involved in the sport, we have had to increasingly subsidise the rink over the past 20 years which is something we can't continue to do.

"We have spoken with the clubs impacted and will now work closely with them to provide what support we can to find them a new home.

"We are now also looking at other ways in which we might use this space going forwards and hope to be able to share more information on this over the coming months."