When: 29th May 2015, from 7.30pm (registration to take part in the games from 6pm)
Where: Dover’s Hill, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire
£: Admission costs £6 for adults and £3 for children (tickets available on the gate). It is free to take part in the games.
What is it?
On the evening of Friday 29th May in the heart of the Cotswolds, a series of quirky rural games will be taking place. Robert Dover’s Olimpick Games were first held in the 1600s as a combination of country and folk events. Robert Dover was an attorney and author who founded the games and presided over the event for the next forty years. Today the games are held on Dover’s Hill, where there is a monument to Robert Dover.
Robert Dover thought that exercise was necessary for the defence of the kingdom. Some believe that Dover introduced the games as a way of bringing rich and poor together to increase social harmony.
This year’s Olimpick Games will begin with the official opening at 7.30pm, complete with the entrance of ‘Robert Dover’, the ‘Scuttlebrook Queen’ and cannon fire. This will be followed by a parade of the competitors.
The first of the games to take place will be the obstacle race, followed by games such as Shin Kicking, Tug O’ War and even a Wheelbarrow Race. Shin kicking dates back to 1636, and is one of the most popular of the games. The participants wear traditional shepherd smocks and straw to protect their shins. The competitors have to hold each other by the shoulder, and try to kick the opponent’s shins and bring them to the ground. A judge, known as a stickler, makes sure the competitors stick to the rules.
There will be several arenas with sports and entertainment taking place throughout the evening. Entertainment will include the Coventry Corps of Drums, Campden Morris Men and the Cheltenham Pipe Band. Other activities will include birds of prey, face-painting, a fairground, virtual paintball and bungee jumping.
The finale will see ‘Robert Dover’ and the ‘Scuttlebrook Queen’ light a beacon, followed by a firework display. Finally, a torchlit procession will take place, which everyone is welcome to take part in. The procession will finish at the Square in Chipping Campden, where ‘Robert Dover’ will drink to the health of the ‘Scuttlebrook Queen’. From 10.45pm there will be floodlit dancing to The Iguanas until midnight.
For those who are looking to carry on the quirky fun, a fancy dress parade will be taking place the following day. The parade will include decorated vehicles, fancy dress and morris dancers. Dancing by local children and morris dancers will also take place in the square. The new ‘Scuttlebrook Queen’ will be crowned and the street fair opened. This local custom is known as the Scuttlebrook Wake and it takes place every year. The term ‘Scuttlebrook’ comes from the name of a brook which used to flow through the area.
More info: www.olimpickgames.com