Hello, good morning, good afternoon or good evening. How are you this week? Spring has sprung here in the UK and the flowers are beginning to bloom. It even stopped raining for a while this morning. Today I want to talk to you about a strange event that happens in England every year.
In the South of England there is a place called Gloucester. It is famous for two things. The first is a nursery rhyme – a little poem we read to children – about a Doctor. It goes like this…
Doctor Foster went to Gloucester,
In a shower of rain;
He stepped in a puddle,
Right up to his middle,
And never went there again
The other thing Gloucester is famous for is it’s cheese. There are a lot of cows in this part of England and, therefore, lots of milk to use to make cheese. The Gloucester cheese is yellow or orange and is quite hard. It’s very well-known here.
Now, in Gloucester, there is a very steep hill and each year there is a special competition. It is called the “Cheese Rolling”. A nine pound or 4 kilogram round piece of Gloucester cheese is rolled from the very top of the hill and the competitors chase after it down to the bottom. The first person across the finish line is crowned winner, and can keep the cheese as a prize. Originally, the aim was to catch the cheese, however, with its one-second head start and how quickly it gains speed, this becomes pretty difficult – and dangerous! In the past, people watching have been injured by the rolling cheese. The competitors often fall and tumble down the hill. It is common for them to break bones and get other injuries.
In fact, Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling has been called the world’s most dangerous footrace and described as “twenty young men chasing a cheese off a cliff and tumbling 200 yards to the bottom, where they are scraped up by paramedics and packed off to hospital.”
The main competitors are local people from the village, however, people have come from all over the world to take part in the unusual sport. There’s even a pub in the nearby village of Shurdington named after the event called The Cheese Rollers.
This event has been taking place every year since the 15th Century and nobody really knows why it started. I have posted some videos of it on the website, so be sure to check them out. They are quite funny, and you will definitely be able to see why people get injured doing it!