Saturday, 7 August 2010

A little history of ice skating

It was the long cold North European winters that inspired the invention of the ice skate. The earliest known example is over 5000 years old and was found at the bottom of a Swiss lake (I assume the chap wearing them rather overestimated their capabilities) and were fashioned from animal bone and leather straps which attached to the skaters shoe. Early records indicate that ice skaters using poles to propel themselves across frozen lakes and rivers “as swiftly as birds” was a common sight in the colder climes across the North Sea. Consequently ice skating was positively old hat on the continent by the time Britons really started getting excited about it in the mid 1600s, when social trends and weather conditions changed the notion that is was just a bizarre activity one hears about foreigners doing in far away lands.