Recreational and sports amenities in Dundee

For a city with a relatively small population Dundee has a lot to offer both residents and visitors in sporting and leisure facilities. Dundee City Council is very active in encouraging citizens to participate in sport and leisure activities and provides many opportunities in just about every conceivable leisure pursuit. Nearby the city are championship golf courses that regularly host ‘The Open’ golf tournament, most recently at Carnoustie in 2007.

Dundee has two professional football teams. Dundee United FC currently play in the Scottish Premier league, the top division of Scottish football and have their ground at Tannadice Park, a little under 2km (1 mile) north of the docks area. The club was originally called Dundee Hibernian and was formed by Irish ex-patriots. Such was the enthusiasm for the club in the city that their inaugural match, against Hibernians of Edinburgh, attracted a crowd of 7000. The club has a selection of nick-names. Originally known as the ‘Terrors’ now, in today’s PC climate, they are more often referred to as the ‘Arabs’ or the ‘Tangerines. Whilst the ‘Tangerines’ has some logic to it, they play in an orange coloured top, the term ‘Arabs’ might seem perplexing to attach to a Scottish team. Apparently it dates back to the 1960s and was originally a name given to the clubs supporters. The name arose following some very bad weather when the team ended up playing on a pitch that was more sand than grass. Dundee FC plays in the Scottish League Division I and are simply known as the ‘Dees’. The club was formed in 1893 and was at one time managed by the legendary Bob Shankly, of Liverpool FC fame. Their ground, Dens Park, is close to the ‘United’ ground off Dens Road.

The senior rugby club in the city is Dundee High School, who play in the Scottish RFU Premiership Division I. The club dates back to the 1880s and has produced several Scottish and British Lions players including: Rob Dewey and Tom Smith. In general Dundee and Tayside have a thriving community of rugby clubs, playing at a variety of standards. The local athletics club is the Hawkhill Harriers, who are based at the Caird Park stadium which is off the A90 - Forfar Road - in the north of the city. The club was founded in 1889 and competes in Scottish and UK events. The Dundee Wanderers Hockey club are a ‘field’ hockey club, as opposed to an ice hockey club. Their ground is at the Dundee International Sports Centre on Mains Loan, to the north of the city. The club has both men’s and women’s teams, who both play in the respective Scottish National League Divisions I. In total there are 6 men’s and two women’s teams, providing opportunities for players of all standards to join in. There is an American football team in Dundee called the Dundee Hurricanes. They play in the British American Football League II North, using the Dawson Park ground off the Arbroath Road. Situated on the estuary there is, of course, the Dundee Sailing Club for anyone interested in nautical sports. The club is open to both experienced sailors and novices who are interested in trying the sport of sailing dinghies and yachts.

Being in the north of Scotland, winter sports are very popular in the city. The excellent Dundee Ice Arena has an Olympic sized ice area with seating for 2300 spectators and was opened in 2000. The arena is off the Kingsway West (A90) to the west of the city centre and apart from being popular with Dundee residents for recreational skating it is also the home to Dundee’s: ice hockey, curling, skating and speed skating clubs. It is also used to host international ice competitions. The ice arena has eight ice hockey clubs that play their home games there. The senior ice hockey club is the Dundee Stars who play in the Scottish Premier League. Below them are the Dundee Tigers, who play in the Scottish National League. Almost 20 clubs use the Dundee Ice Arena for practice and competitions in the ancient sport of curling; these clubs also offer introductions to the sport and coaching sessions. The Dundee Speed Skating Club was formed in 2000 when the ice arena opened and competes in various local and national competitions. There is also a Dundee Ice Skating Club, which offers members the chance to develop their ice dancing skills. About an hours drive north of Dundee is the Glenshee skiing centre which has 36 skiing and snowboarding runs spread over three valleys. Both here and at the nearby Cairngorm mountains there are plenty of opportunities for mountain biking, kayaking, walking and climbing as well.

The city of Dundee has three sports centres and two swimming pools, all of which offer residents access to sports leisure facilities  and coaching programmes to improve sports skills. The Dundee Arnhall Swimming Club uses the city’s Olympia swimming centre for training and competitions. As well as the nearby championship and private golf courses there are two municipal golf courses in Dundee at Camperdown and Caird Park, both of which are 18 hole parkland courses.

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