We’ve tackled Wife Carrying, we’ve learned about Extreme Ironing, so today we will showcase Cheese Rolling- the popular sport among people who enjoy their food off a board with a side of grapes (that no one ever eats). Let’s be honest if it involves the word ‘cheese’, most people will have a punt but beware- it really naffs off the local mice.
It all kicked off on Cooper’s Hill in Gloucester, UK where someone decided to roll some Double Gloucester cheese down a hill and people just couldn't help themselves. They charged after the thing and now it’s a sport that is celebrated all over the world.
It is thought to have pagan origins where people would roll burning brushwood down the hill to mark the beginning of spring after the long winter season. Then people started scattering food at the top of the hill as a sacrifice for a good harvest. Seems like a colossal waste of food to me (which they would need if the harvest was a failure- but hey-ho). So how this smattering of buns, biscuits and sweets became cheese is anyone’s business but it’s certainly proved more popular.
The cheese always gets a head start- but it can reach speeds of up to 70 mph, making it a danger were it to hit someone mid roll. Even if you REALLY like cheese, you never want it to enter your body THAT fast. It’s in a roll shape obvs- a wedge or a block would make for terrible entertainment, when it’s already stretching the boundaries of the word anyway.
Realising the potential cheese chaos that could ensue, the organisers have now replaced said real cheese with a foam replica so it doesn't cause injury should someone be in the way. Surely, no one could get hurt from a bit of cheese you ask? Well, yes they can…
In 1993, fifteen people were injured during this sport, so it’s not to be taken lightly- more so from falling over rather than being smacked by some rolled cheese in a hurry… but still.
Some advice- if you see some cheese and a load of people running down a hill after it and towards you- just step aside- you really don’t want to be an injured party when you were just the spectator. WORST. ANECDOTE. EVER.
The winner is the first person to reach the end of the 200m race, and if you manage to get the cheese while you’re on, great- but it’s unlikely with the advantage it’s afforded at the start.
And what is the grand prize after chasing a 7-9 pound roll of ‘cheese’?
Some cheese of course! Was that not obvious? So lactose intolerants- this sport is probably not one for you- unless they have some dairy free options now? Just be GRATE-ful if they do (see what I did there!?)
If this is your sport of choice, please get in touch so I can ask you… why does one need four teeny, tiny knives to cut a piece of cheese to place on a cracker when a single, normal knife will suffice? Always wanted to know.