On the second (yes, there were amazingly two) bank holiday of May, is the Annual Cheese rolling event, since, as you all know, I love cheese. It wasnt too far away from where I am living, so instead of slacking off with a book, I decided to venture out and have a look at this totally crazy event. On the outside, British people are polite and contained, but in another area, they have this crazy side that is , unfortunately becoming more and more hidden or trodden on by more and more laws, mostly related to Health and Safety. Soon Britain will be so healthy and so safe, people will not leave their homes for fear. Or, perhaps this is why there is the Brexit campaign!
Anyway, this event has a safety warning attached to it. It was banned, but the locals were determined to continue the tradition that has been going for years. According to some very load, very drunk young women from Brockworth, who celebrate Cheese rolling day every year as their Christmas, even giving each other presents, they call it International Brockworth day, and their grand parents were involved from way back. It was started in the middle ages..try and stop that!
The main road to Coopers Hill, was closed to try to stop the event. But people somehow found their way there. This is not an advertised event, but still the exodus was immense. I cleverly went a back way, parked next to a forest on the edge of a hiking path called the Cotswold way and hiked about 3km to the Hill..with a whole lot of other people, it seems.
I didnt know where I was going, so followed some people, and we knew we were on the right track because of this sign: The Health and Safety warning.
We eventually came to a clearing which literally fell away at a steep angle of at least 60 degrees to the horizontal. There was a fence to stop you going off the edge. there were hundreds of people all around the course, and we arrived just before the first cheese was rolled. Here you can see the distance with people waiting at the other end.
It was hard to see everything and some drunk yob was practically pushing down the fence and blocking my view, while the Brockworth girls were shouting in my ear..also drunk: “International Brockworth day”. At the top of the Hill was a row of men about to run to their death. In order to get to the top, they had to climb up the hill, which was extremely strenuous. This was also a kind of race.
The cheese bounced rapidly down the hill..too fast to be seen, and at the bottom were a row of “catchers” from the local rugby team, to help catch the runners. Well, they didnt run down the Hill, as it was too steep..they cartwheeled, rolled, tripped and slid. Surprisingly no-one was taken off in an ambulance this time, but were cut and scraped to smithereens, those who were foolish enough to wear shorts and T shirts especially.
Others came in full armour with elbow and knee pads. The winner won a 10kg cheese..a local double Gloucester. In the bottom of the picture you can see the cheese before the roll. After the roll, you cant see it at all.
After the main race, there was a boys race and a girls race.
There was a lot of rousing choruses of ” Cheese”, and urging on various tumblers (I was going to say runners..but they didnt run). there is a video of this event from previous years showing how they tumble at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IITAJ6NDlo and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYyKoKSvCBY
After the event, I had to find my way back through the forest. I got a bit lost, but knew that I had walked along the Cotswold way, and eventually found my car after backtracking somewhat. Moral of the story: Always look back when you are going forward to make sure you know which path not to take on your way back.
Heres a pic of me in my cheesemaking days. Think I should cut my hair again.