On the great list of 2,087,098 things I want to do before I die is an entry called participate in Cheese Rolling in Gloucestershire. In case you are wondering I intend to run with the bulls long before I engage in this event.
The Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake is an annual event held in May at Cooper’s Hill, SO892146, near Cheltenham and Gloucester in the Cotswolds region of England. It is traditionally by and for the people of Brockworth – the local village, but now people from over the world take part. The event takes its name from the hill it occurs on. From the top of the hill a round of Double Gloucester cheese is rolled, and competitors race down the hill after it. The first person over the finish line at the bottom of the hill wins the cheese. In theory, competitors are aiming to catch the cheese, but since it has a one second head start and can reach speeds up to 70 mph (enough to knock over and injure a spectator as it did in 1997), this rarely occurs.
Accurate information is hard to come by, but the tradition is at least 200 years old. Suggestions have been made that the event may either date back to Roman times or have been a pagan healing ritual, but there is no evidence for this.
“The Cheese Rollers” is also the name of the nearby pub in Shurdington, about 3 miles from Cooper’s Hill. Competitors will frequent this venue for some pre-event Dutch courage or discussion of tactics, and after the event for some convalescence.
Cooper’s Hill is also known as a stop on the Cotswold Way.
The whole thing is pretty ridiculous, but for some reason I have some juvenile desire to try it. Want to see how it works? Click here and watch the carnage.