Going mad in the Cotswolds

2nd May 2017

Categories: Media News

Tetbury Sack Races

The Cotswolds has a well-deserved reputation for being home to some very quirky events and plenty of them are coming up now!

This bank holiday weekend you can enjoy watching grown men and women doing all sorts of wonderful things: carrying wool sacks up a steep hill; rolling cheeses down a hill; wearing pyjamas as they push each other around in wheeled ‘contraptions’; dancing in bowler hats with bells on their legs (and accompanied by someone with a fruitcake on a sword?!?).

There also a number of seriously competitive world championships to be decided including Shin Kicking at the Cotswold Olympicks, the World Poohsticks Championships and the Aunt Sally World Championships!

Bampton Shirt Race (Saturday 27 May)
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!

Cheese Rolling (Monday 29 May)
The Cotswolds’ famous  Cheese Rolling tradition has attracted so many spectators in the past that numbers are now capped at 5,000 attendees. The objective is simple - to be the first person to cross the finish after the rolling chess, which goes really rather fast!  www.cheese-rolling.co.uk

Tetbury Woolsack Races (Monday 29 May)
Basically people run up Gumstool Hill, which is extremely steep, carrying a damn great sack of wool on their backs. The men’s wool 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. www.tetburywoolsack.co.uk/

Bampton Day of Dance (Monday 29 May)
Bampton has not one but three Morris dancing sides (teams) and on Bank Holiday and dressed in white with bells on legs and handkerchiefs in hand, the bowler hatted dancers are accompanied by a Fool with a pigs bladder and a Cake Bearer who carries a sword with a fruit cake stuck on it; eating the cake is considered lucky but be careful as it is a fertility cake!

Scuttlebrook Wake (Saturday 3 June)
A procession with the May Queen pulled on her cart by the Chipping Campden Morris Men, followed by decorated floats and a fancy dress parade.  The queen is crowned in the square and then the square is filled with entertainments and dancing. www.scuttlebrookwake.org

World Poohsticks Championships (Sunday 4 June)
It’s Winnie-the-Pooh’s 95 birthday and the championships, abiding by the 'The official Pooh Corner Rules for Playing Poohsticks'  will see plenty of sticks floating under the brides of the River Windrush http://pooh-sticks.com/

Aunt Sally World Championships (Saturday 24 June)
Basically sticks are thrown to knock the ‘doll’ off the iron and in the world of Aunt Sally (that’s the Cotswolds!) this is the big one!

Cotswold Olimpicks & Shin Kicking
Unfortunately 2017's Cotswold Olimpicks - due to take place on Friday 2 June - has had to be cancelled. The organisers hope to be back, bigger and better, in 2018. www.olimpickgames.com/