British eccentricity is famous the world over and in 2015 that off-the-wall attitude will be out in full force across the country. While the rest of the world is waiting with baited breath for events such as the Champions League final, the Women’s football World Cup, and the rugby World Cup, the British public (or the eccentric ones at least) will be focusing on something a little less mainstream.
The roster of weird sports in the UK’s towns and villages certainly makes for interesting reading. However, if you’re not quite convinced about the strange things going on in pubs and fields, then here’s a rundown of the three oddest sporting events in the UK.
Much Wenlock Games
The birthplace of the modern Olympic Games (Baron de Coubertin used William Penny-Brookes’ Much Wenlock Games as a basis for his Olympic movement), Much Wenlock is the site for an annual contest of physicality.
Taking place between July 4th and July 18th, the Much Wenlock Games encompasses a wide variety of sports, including golf, tennis, fencing, cricket and volleyball. Although the sports on offer might not be the weirdest in the world, the diversity of the festival is rare. In fact, other than the Olympic Games, the Much Wenlock Games offers the greatest range of sporting options in the UK and beyond.
Ardbeg Swamp Soccer World Cup
Take a football, a mud-filled swamp and a group of players willing to forgo the virtues of good hygiene in the name competition and you’ve got the annual Ardbeg Swamp Soccer World Cup. In 2015, the event is set to be held at the Swamp Soccer Arena in Barrhead, Glasgow, and this year the festival will feature teams from across Europe.
Like all games of soccer (or football), the aim is to score more goals that your opponents. However, the one catch is that the players are waist high in mud. Each team consists of six players and games take place on a classic five-a-side sized pitch and last for 24 minutes. In the past, the event has been featured on national TV in shows such as Rory and Paddy’s Great British Adventure and this time around the organisers aim to attract 50 teams and more than £2million of media coverage.
Cheese Rolling Championships
If you’ve never rolled a wheel of cheese down a hill and then chased after it like a mad man or woman, then you haven’t lived. That is according to the organisers of the Cheese Rolling Championships. Taking place in one of the UK’s traditional cheese making counties, Gloucestershire, the event is actually a lot more dangerous than it sounds.
Every May for the last 200 years, contestants have converged at the top of Cooper’s Hill in Gloucester and wait for the famous cheese wheel to be launched down the slope. Pitched at a gradient of 1:2, controlling your pace down the hill is no mean feat. People skid and fall in pursuit of the cheese, meaning medics are always close by.
The person who manages to make it down the hill in one piece and catch the cheese before anyone else is declared the winner and handed the prize dairy product.