Spring time always marks the beginning of countless cheese related events that take place throughout the UK. From food festivals to competitions, the British public have an amazing range of cheesy days out to choose from. May in particular is home to arguably the most famous cheese event, as spectators and participants flock to Gloucestershire for the centuries old Cheese Rolling Festival.
Taking place this year on the 28th May thousands attend the event on Cooper’s Hill in Gloucester, with over 40 contenders taking part in the daring event. At the top of the steep hill a nine-pound wheel of Double Gloucester cheese is released by the Master of Ceremonies, with runners chasing it down the hill. The rolling cheese can reach speeds of up to 70mph, with the victor declared as the first to reach the bottom of the hill and winning themselves an astounding amount of cheese.
This annual tradition began in the early 1800s as a way to celebrate the end of Winter and the new crops that Spring brought with it. Since then, apart from a few exceptions, the event has run each and every year; the festival even ran when rationing was in place for cheese, a wooden ‘cheese’ wheel was used between 1941 and 1954.
The event itself is not for the faint hearted with many competitors experiencing injuries every year, from scrapes and bruises to broken limbs. The number of injuries in some years, as well as the sheer volume of spectators the event attracts, have caused the event to be cancelled the subsequent year; notably this occurred in 1998, 2001, 2003 and 2010. Take a look at a video from last year’s event below.
Will you be attending Gloucestershire’s Cheese Rolling Festival this year? Or have you attended in previous years? We’d love to hear your stories, let us know yours on Twitter.