Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Alternative Olympics

Mad Hatter Olympic Games

As you know by now, here at the Oakeley Arms, we're not ones to miss out on a sporting event (especially if it can be enjoyed from the comfort of the bar, ahem!)....

So this week, as London 2012 draws ever closer, we thought we'd investigate some alternative games; just in case rowing, 100m or the javelin isn't for you.

Read on for some of the country's most barmy, bonkers and bizarre sporting events. Click on the highlighted links for more info (opens in a new window).

Hare Pie Scramble and Bottle Kicking, Leicestershire
A truly bizarre event that is thought to date back many centuries. The 'bottle kicking' itself is fairly self-explanatory (but please note the rules - no eye gouging, strangling or weapons....). The aim of the game is to kick the bottle as far as you can over a series of obstacles. The Hare Pie Scramble, is, as the name suggests, a scramble to get a piece of a giant hare pie after it's blessed and thrown to the crowd by the vicar. Yum.

Man versus Horse Marathon, Llanwrtyd Wells, Mid Wales
A relatively new event in the bonkers-event calendar (the first race was in 1980) but completely bonkers nonetheless! This is definitely a race of champions - runners compete on a 22 mile circuit against riders on horseback. A human didn't win the race until 2004, when runner Huw Lobb beat the fastest horse by over 2 minutes! The prize is a staggering 1,000 guineas. Anyone for a jog?

Bog Snorkelling Championships, Llanwrtyd Wells, Mid Wales
There must be something about this town and it's crazy contests, but as well as the Man vs Horse marathon, this little town is also home to the annual Bog Snorkelling Championships. If this rain keeps up we'll be able to practice in the Oakeley garden.....

Get boggy!
Image by rud-gr on wikicommons

Cheese Rolling, Gloucestershire
One of the better known crazy sporting events in Britain; this year the event in June drew crowds of over 2,000 people! The unusual tradition is thought to be an ancient celebration of the beginning of Spring. And what better way to welcome Spring than to hurl yourself down a very steep hill after a large round of Double Gloucestershire cheese? We do like a bit of cheese, but that's just crackers! (sorry...)

Cheesy mayhem!
Image by Dave Farrance on wikicommons
Cotswold Olimpick Games, Chipping Camden
Organisers claim these games were the origins of the modern Olympic events as we know them, and this year was an extra special 400th anniversary of the extraordinary event. Games include sword fights, dog performances, shin kicking and tug'o'war.
Certainly not one for the faint hearted, or indeed the faint tongued! Apparently competitors come from all over the world to be the nettle champion - participants are given an hour to chomp and chew their way through as many stinging nettles as they can. YUM!

Ever been asked how strong your big toe is? Well you'll need to know if you want to enter this bizarre contest. Apparently devised by George Burgess in the 1970s to give England something to win at, this international competition is toe joke (sorry!). If your toe's had its weetabix, why not give it a go?

"Be a skimmer and you're a winner" is the advice of this unusual event on a small Scottish island. But be warned skimmers - to count as a "skim", the stone must bounce on the water at least three times.

Now we all know those Lancashire folk love a black pudding or two, but why oh why are they chucking them all over the place? The idea is to hurl a black pud at a tower of yorkshire puds in a bid to finally settle the age old Lancashire-Yorkshire feud.... The winner is the thrower who can topple the most yorkies. Anyone for a pudding??

Wobble those yorkies!
image by Paul Anderson on wiki commons

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