25 injured in annual cheese-rolling race.

Hard cheese for rollers

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

3000 spectators watch as the contestants tumble down a hill as they chase a cheese.

This traditional adrenaline-fuelled race relies on stamina – and plenty of cheese.

Daredevil athletes slipped, somersaulted and tumbled down a 200m hill yesterday as they chased a 4kg Double Gloucester cheese.

Some 25 people were injured during the five races, with two being taken to hospital.

One winner said knocking himself out was ‘definitely worth it’

The event in Brockworth, Gloucestershire, attracted 3,000 spectators from around the world.

It marks a heathen festival celebrating spring.

One of the winners of this year's event was Andrew Brewin, 20.

Bodies go flying through the air as they run down the hill to be the first person to grab the rolling cheese.

This guy needs to go to hospital.

There are many beautiful events in England at the end of May. Many are pagan or druidic in origin. Others are Anglo-Saxon, and there are many events and festivals that celebrate the restoration of the Monarchy in May 1660 - such as Oak Apple Day and the Garland King who rides through the village of Castleton, Derbyshire wearing a heavy wooden construction, shaped like a beehive and covered with flowers and greenery.

The Master of Ceremonies with the cheese that is rolled down the hill.

The Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake is an annual event held on the last Monday in May at Cooper's Hill near Cheltenham and Gloucester. (Yesterday was also Oak Apple Day when people in parts of England still celebrate the Restoration of the Monarchy by wearing sprigs of oak in memory of the time when King Charles II hid from the Roundheads by hiding in an oak tree following the Battle of Worcester in 1651 during the English Civil War).

Competitors race down the hill after a Double Gloucester cheese, and the first person over the line wins the cheese. In theory, competitors are aiming to catch the cheese, but since it has a second's head start and can reach speeds up to 70mph (enough to knock over and injure a spectator as it did in 1997), this rarely occurs.

Due to the steepness and uneven surface of the hill there are usually a number of injuries, ranging from sprained ankles to broken bones and concussions. A first aid service is provided by the local St John Ambulance (Gloucester, Cheltenham and Stroud Divisions) at the bottom of the hill, with a volunteer rescue group on hand to carry down to them any casualties who do not end up at the bottom through gravity. A number of ambulance vehicles will attend the event, since there is invariably at least one and often several more injuries requiring hospital treatment. Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling has been summarized as "twenty young men chase a cheese off a cliff and tumble 200 yards to the bottom, where they are scraped up by paramedics and packed off to hospital".

A view down Cooper's Hill, from the start point of the race to the finish (where the dog-walkers are). The face of the hill itself is concave and hence cannot be seen from this angle. The posts at the bottom are signs from the local council requesting that, to avoid soil erosion, people do not walk on the face of the hill. The posts are removed for the annual event.The last race of the 2005 event was delayed while the ambulances returned from the hospital, all of them having been required to transport casualties from previous races. Nevertheless, it was one of the most popular events in recent years, with many more participants than were able to run in the four races.

Accurate information is hard to come by, but the tradition is at least 200 years old. Suggestions are made that it may date back to Roman times, or may have been a pagan healing ritual, but there is no evidence for this.

The Cheese Rollers is also the name of the nearby pub about half mile stroll from Cooper's Hill. Competitors will frequent this venue for some pre-event Dutch courage or discussion of tactics, and after the event for some convalescence

One of yesterday's 5 races.


Similar Threads

Cheese Please
by countryboy | Feb 3rd, 2010
Who Took The Cheese?
by #juan | Oct 12th, 2005
no new posts