27 June 2007

They Bounce!

This happened in May & I did mean to blog about it but forgot. It's the annual cheese rolling event at Coopers hill near Brockworth, Gloucestershire. It has been going on, as far as I know & according to the organisers, since 1888. The competitors are usually mad, stupid or have a liking for pain, sometimes all three! I have been there a few times to see it, the most I've done is stood at the top & look down & stand at the bottom to look up, my nerves couldn't cope with any more! My eldest brother has entered & won it & a few friends have come first/second/third.
The hill is bloody steep, you look up & your looking at the sky, you look down & you can see for miles, as far as the mountains in the distance in fact. Stood at the top you are on the edge of a more or less sheer drop, the ground falls away from you & every year on the last Monday in May at 12 noon sharp a group of twenty or so men throw themselves down Coopers hill after a 3.5kg double Gloucester cheese thrown by the Master of Ceremonies. There are ladies & children's races, the childrens & those less brave to do the other's being 'uphill' races. Needless to say they don't get that far up the hill!!

First prize is obviously the cheese, second prize is £10.00 & third prize is £5.00.
The blokes in the striped shirts at the bottom are there to catch/be cannoned into by the ones that can't stop, as are the straw bales. The cheese has been known to bounce a little too much though, it flew off course & knocked somebody out one year & has bounced into the onlookers at the bottom. So far as I know nobody has died doing it, just had broken bones but considering what they do the breaks are few & far between.

According to the website the hill is 1 in 2 in places & 1 in 1 in others, it is inconceivable how steep it is until you've actually been there & seen it. When I was stood at the top I had somebody hold me I was that scared of falling!!
This picture from the Ribena country calendar is probably the best one to give you some idea of the steepness, the steepness is real, not enhanced at all.

The few times the race hasn't been able to take place, 1998 due to injury concerns, 2001 due to the foot & mouth outbreak & 2003 when SARAID couldn't be there due to earthquakes in Algeria, without them St. John ambulance couldn't be there so it was cancelled. On each occasion the cheese has still been rolled by the organising committee to maintain the tradition. During the food rationing of the war a wooden 'cheese' was rolled containing a tiny space able to hold a small chunk of cheese to maintain the 'rolling of cheese'. The biggest cheese to be rolled was 40lb in celebration of real cheese returning to the hill.
It's a mad much loved ancient local tradition, enjoy the video below of people throwing themselves down Coopers hill all in pursuit of a lump of Double Gloucester :o)


PC South West said...

On seeing the title of this posting I was expecting some kind of soft porn, lol.
To be honest it's a bit cheesy really.

Anonymous said...

was you in it, if so which one was you?

totallyun-pc said...

I did the Taetbury woolsack race once.... Not quite as bizarre as chasing cheese, but running down a steep hill with a hay bale on your shoulders when your legs are buckling, is definately a bum clenching endeavour!

see it here.... http://www.bbc.co.uk/gloucestershire/content/articles/2005/05/27/woolsack_feature.shtml

totallyun-pc said...

ps - heres a vid of it....looking back I can't believe I did this..... makes me sick just watching it now...


Girl*Next*Door said...

PCSW, what kind of blog do you think this is?! Hahahaha

Wayne, do I really come over as that unhinged?! lol. No, I wasn't in it.

Tupc, I always thought you were slightly mad, now you've just confirmed it!! Running down that with a bale of hay, mental. Whoever thought these up must have been a little bit touched in the head I think....!

I've seen the wool race once or twice & I had my stomach in my throat once or twice when they were coming down the hill. Scary stuff!

dickiebo said...

Ah! The real England is still alive and well. Good.

pawpads said...

You can see my house in that picture.

Girl*Next*Door said...

You don't live that far from me then Pawpads, how strange!!

Girl*Next*Door said...

Dickiebo, if they tried to ban any of the weird traditions here there would be a revolt, I'm sure of it. They had a big enough struggle with fox hunting!

pawpads said...

It is indeed a small world.

I thought of you on Thursday when I had to pop into Chelters and nipped into Starbucks.
Couldn't see any hot men though! I guess your man wasn't working.