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Monday, March 15, 2010

Cheese Rolling and Flaming Torches

The ancient pastime of cheese rolling was in the headlines this weekend when the annual cheese rolling contest at Cooper's Hill in Gloucestershire was cancelled because of concerns over the sizes of the crowd turning out to see the event. It was refreshing that no one was concerned about potential injury to the participants (or the cheeses) and that the problem simply related to issues of traffic and crowd control.

The Cooper's Hill cheese rolling dates back at least 200 years. The rules are relatively simple; a round of Double Gloucester Cheese is rolled down the hill and competitors race after it. In theory they are aiming to catch the cheese but since it has a head start and can gather momentum to reach speeds of up to 70mph, this is unlikely to happen. The first person over the finish line at the bottom of the hill gets to keep the cheese, assuming that it is still in a fit state to be eaten. It is hoped that the event will be re-arranged.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the country, Hadrian's Wall, the Roman monument spanning England from Wallsend to Bowness-on-Solway, was lit up by a spectacular line of light to mark British Tourism Week. I wish I had been on the northern side of the wall to see the line of flaming torches. I imagine it would be the closest you could get to time travel back to the period when each milecastle along the wall was manned by Roman soldiers. Shiver down the spine.


cara elliott said...

Oh, that picture of the torches really does send shivers down my spine! Would LOVE to have seen that sight. How very beautiful and evocative.

And love the image of a huge cheese whizzing down a hill with a crowd in pursuit!

NinaP said...

When I look at the "cheese pursuit" all I can see is the growing potential for broken ankles.

But Hadrian's Wall... I would love to see that. I imagine the feeling of history must be so intense.

Nicola Cornick said...

It looks hugely atmospheric, doesn't it. I've since read that as well as celebrating British Tourism Week it was also marking the end of 1600 years of Roman rule in Britain. Good to celebrate these anniversaries!