Monday, 15 March 2010

No More Cheese Rolling.....

Another great Cotswold tradition has come to an end thanks to Health & Safety issues. Cheese Rolling, which has taken place at Cooper's Hill for centuries, has been banned.

As a protest and in support of the cheese makers, I went out today and bought some of the same local type they use. Not a 7lb wheel, more a slither but it was the gesture that was important. And it tastes very good too. My photo below does not do justice to the texture, the smell and oh, the taste: ecstasy on a biscuit!

So what is cheese rolling? A 7lb Double Gloucester cheese is set in motion from the top of the steep hill - and it can reach speeds up to 70 miles per hour - and us 'locals' then chase it. The first person to reach the bottom and cross the line is the winner. Yes, you are right -it is another barmy English tradition.


Cheese rolling is not for the faint hearted as competitors are catapulted through the air such is the force and momentum generated by the hill's steepness. Injuries are common but not as serious as you might think - a few broken bones but that is of little consequence to those that want to take part. What is more odd, is that the Health and Safety concerns are not about the competitors but the spectators, for the event has become so popular that over 15000 people attended the last one, which is usually held in May. With our little country lanes totally jammed and the hill only able to cope with 5000 people, the numbers are quite obviously a problem.

But there is some good news: a revised version of cheese rolling may take place next year. If it involves eating the cheese rather than risking life and limb running after it, I may just enter the competition.......

[Acknowledgement to the Daily Mail for some of this information]

9 comments:

  1. But it sounds like so much fun! That's what we're missing now. Good, wholesome, traditional fun. I'm sad it's canceled, but hopefully, like you say, something else along the same lines will take its place.

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  2. It is a wonder there are no broken necks.

    I witnessed the race between Man and Horse one year in Wales. There were people from all over the UK. What a party!

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  3. What's weird is that i know what cheese rolling is. jim

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  4. Dear Johnson, Large crowds of people turning out to see the cheese rolling may present logistical problems, but that is not, in my view, any reason to ban the event. What you cite here is yet another example of the absurd ways of what is now truly becoming 'The Nanny State'. Where, one asks oneself, will it all end?

    There is in Hungary a total, and I mean total, disregard for health and safety at public shows and events. Do people become maimed, injured or killed? The answer is most definitely, NO!

    Enjoy your cheese which looks delicious.

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  5. You're kidding!? It's been banned!? Oh, that is so disappointing. I remember my ex-Brit-husband telling me about it and the anticipation I had at attending one day. No more...and what I wouldn't give for some proper English cheddar! We have some here, at our local 'fine' grocery store but it's a fortune! Enjoy yours...I miss having mine with fresh baked bread and some Branston relish! Yuuummm!

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  6. Sign me up for the eating competition. I just love cheese :-)

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  7. This was totally new to me... and amazing!! Sad to see such traditions being banned. LC

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  8. Thanks to all of you for your comments.

    There is some talk now of trying to resolve the issues as there has been such a lot of bad publicity about it. I'm not sure if the UK is worse than elsewhere but the Nanny state does seem to be taking over somewhat.

    Jim (Groble) - you are right, it is rather weird that you know about cheese rolling!

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  9. I get your point about the disappointment of having the event banned, but it seems quite laughable to me that Health and Safety shoulf get involved when all you're doing is chasing a bit of cheese down a hill...And if there are too many spectators to be able to see what's happening that's their tough!

    In Donegal they have pig-racing and they close the roads for it to give the pigs a free run, not because they are worried for the spectators. They have the Guards out (police) but that's just to prevent the pigs making a break for freedom!!

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