English Eccentricity Continued – The Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling

May 27, 2014

Looking from the Bottom
cheeserolling 1

Looking down

Can you imagine taking a circular nine pound cheese rolling it off a cliff then chasing after it ?

No…Neither can I.

However, for several hundreds of years, at this time of year that’s exactly what a group of let‘s call them enthusiast, for want of a better term, do on a ridiculously steep hill near the village of Brockworth in Gloucestershire, and they do it for fun. In fact the latest Cheese Rolling Race was yesterday, on the Spring Bank Holiday.

The aim of the race is in theory to actually catch the cheese which is given a one second head start, now by my calculations, given the incline of the hill a generous amount of gravity I estimate that cheese will reach a speed of about 70 mph and will be travelling with sufficient velocity to do anyone daft enough to get in its way a serious amount of damage.

So it is in fact the first person over the finish line is awarded the cheese, as far as I am aware how a person actually crosses the line does not appear to be at all relevant, as you can see in the photographs.

Needless to say this race is not for the faint hearted, or indeed for the sane and also needless to say the Politically Correct and Health and Safety Mob aren’t at all happy and have been trying to stop it for years.

I think they got too officious last year when In May a police inspector warned the 86 year-old cheese maker, Diana Smart, who has been supplying the cheeses since the 80’s that she could be held responsible for injuries. Another police officer, Chief Superintendent Nigel Avron of Gloucestershire Police also made these comments: “If you are an organiser in some way or some capacity you could potentially be held liable for something that took place at the event.
Obviously such threats scared the old lady but did little else to halt the proceedings, you see the race is anything but officially organised and my attitude is simple if you happen to think this is a fun thing to do and want to take part so be it. Sign a disclaimer claiming full responsibility for any and all acts of gross stupidity you may carry out and then go for it.

So are there any injuries ? Oh Yes ! It is a seriously high and very steep hill. It is covered in grass and it has been raining, true that may make the ground a little less hard but it is still the ground and if you hit it at speed and at the wrong angle it is going to hurt. . A first aid service is usually provided by the local St John Ambulance Service ( At the Bottom that is). In a previous race I think one of their members, stationed strategically, half way up the hill was torpedoed by a racer, who himself was well on the way to the scene of his own accident. Now they use the same tactics as mountain rescue to retrieve the unconscious and other non walking wounded who fail to reach the bottom by gravity alone.

A number of ambulances are normally in attendance since there is invariably at least one, and often several injuries requiring hospital treatment.
The media describe Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling as “twenty young men chasing a cheese off a cliff and tumbling 200 yards to the bottom, where they are scraped up by paramedics and packed off to hospital.”

One year, in 2005 the race had to be delayed while they waited for ambulances to return from the nearby hospital !

Of course what started off as some sort of local silliness has grown in popularity with a Worldwide following and a number of foolhardy foreigners turning up to try their hand. This year saw visitors from the USA and Australia taking part.

Seems English Eccentricity is catching !

cheese rolling 2

Cheese-Rolling 3

cheeserolling 5

cheese- rolling 4

Coming Next….. Cotswold Olimpics.

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