May is the full moon of  Cotswold quirkiness as grown men and women lug wool sacks uphill, roll cheeses downhill, push each other round in prams while wearing pyjamas, dance in bowler hats with bells on their legs (accompanied by someone with a fruitcake on a sword?!?) and kick each other’s shins!

Bampton Shirt Race (photo James Wildman)
Bampton Shirt Race
(Saturday 25 May) is organised by the splendidly named SPAJERS ( 'The Society for the Preservation of Ancient Junketing') the Bampton Shirt Race involves teams of two, who dress in night-shirts and use some means of transport (wheelbarrow, pram or anything with wheels!) which has to be pushed by one of them while the other sits in it. At various points - pubs and houses - they have to down a beer and swap jobs before continuing the race!

Tetbury Woolsack Races - Monday 27 May 2019
Tetbury Woolsack Races (Monday 27 May) sees competitors run up and down the very steep Gumstool Hill carrying a damn great sack of wool on their backs: the men’s sacks weigh 60lb and the women’s 35lb. The course runs 240 yards and was originally attempted by young drovers showing off to local women by running up the hill carrying a wool sack. The town celebrates with a street fair with street entertainers, stalls and amusement rides.

Bampton Day of Dance (photo James Wildman)
Bampton Day of Dance (Monday 27 May) - Morris dancing has been part of Bampton's Whitsun (now Spring Bank Holiday) festivities for centuries and the village has no less than three Morris dancing sides (teams). Dancing begins early in the day with each side starting off at their home pub and essentially then carries on all day! Dressed in white with bells on legs and handkerchiefs in hand, the bowler hatted dancers are accompanied by a Fool with a pig’s bladder and a Cake Bearer who carries a sword with a fruit cake stuck on it!

Cheese Rolling on Cooper's Hill
Cheese Rolling (Monday 27 May) - the Cotswolds’ famous  Cheese Rolling tradition has been officially ‘cancelled’ since 2010 due to understandable health and safety concerns – broken bones are not uncommon as competitors race down Cooper’s Hill chasing an 8lb Double Gloucester cheese. The objective is simple - to be the first person to cross the finish after the rolling chess, which goes spectacularly fast! 

Shin Kickers prepare for kick off!

The torch lit procession back to Chipping Campden
Cotswold Olimpick Games
(Friday 31 May) - one of the classic Cotswold quirky events. Dating back to 1612, Robert Dover's Cotswold Olimpick Games is a unique continuation of early rural sporting events – King of the Hill, Tug of War and most famously Shin Kicking. Held in the wonderful setting of Dover’s Hill, the games are followed by a torch lit procession back to Chipping Campden.




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