Well just as a touch of light relief from the mountain of Christmas events, Parades and markets currently on we thought we’d look at something slightly different in this week’s blog post …
Have you ever been somewhere and come across a local event and thought that’s just totally weird!! Here’s a festival you could consider weird, although if you are a cheese lover you may just want to be part of it …
Cheese rolling has been popular in England since the fifteenth century and the home of cheese rolling is Gloucestershire. The reason for the event is a little unclear but it is thought it may have been to encourage the fruits of harvest. No matter, nobody cares nowadays they just want to race and win the cheese!
In England the main cheese rolling event is held at Cooper’s Hill (well it naturally has to be a hill) on a Sunday lunchtime. Every May crowds gather, the site is scanned for stones, undergrowth has been cut and contestants limber up and discuss tactics depending on the ground conditions. Being a particularly steep hill Cooper's Hill is ideal for the event.
In a series of “races” people run, tumble and roll down the hill in fast pursuit of a wheel shaped double Gloucester rolling cheese. They are all after the illustrious crown of being the cheese rolling champion!
Numerous injuries are just part of the course but that would of course be the nature of things when you fling yourself downhill at high speed!
Spectators and competitors are all warned of the dangers of the event as it's not just the contestants who could be in for a rough and tumble event. A rolling cheese can reach speeds of up to 70 kph and if it erratically vears off course it could easily knock an unsuspecting spectator out cold!
Oh the English do love their traditions and festivals however, Kiwis, before you laugh at the absurdity of the English activities, take note cheese rolling events have been held in New Zealand. In Gore in the hills of Wendon Valley mad Kiwis have raced downhill with a wheel of Whitestone Windsor blue and also in Tokoroa in the Waikato although they don’t officially use a wheel of cheese but a wooden wheel so I guess that’s not true "cheese" rolling!
We have not been able to currently find a date for the next New Zealand cheese rolling event but if you hear about one do let us know and if you happen to be in the Gloucester region of England next May make a stop and enjoy the original Cheese Rolling Festival!
What could be more fun than wandering around your local market. Fresh baking smells, lovingly handcrafted items, each one unique and special, delicious home grown produce - that's what we love and we hope you do too!