A 407 year old sporting event featuring a host of quirky rural games will be taking place in the Cotswolds.
Robert Dover’s Cotswold Olimpicks sees people from the local community competing in disciplines such as Shin Kicking and Tug O’ War, in this sporting event with a difference.
Robert Dover’s Cotswold Olimpicks 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, quite aptly, held on Dover’s Hill where there is a monument to the man himself.
Robert Dover thought that exercise was necessary for the defence of the Kingdom; and some believe that Dover introduced the games as a way of bringing the rich and poor together to increase social harmony.
This year’s events will include the Champion of the Hill and Championship of the Hill.
To win Champion of the Hill competitors must take part in the Static Jump, Spurning the Barre (a bit like Tossing the Caber), the Hammer Throw, and Putting the Shot. The more modern Championship of the Hill usually features relays involving wheelbarrows, dustbins, hay bales and water.
The Tug O’ War sees teams of eight competing against one another in this traditional sport, and the ever popular Shin Kicking, one of the original Olimpick games, is pretty much as it sounds! Competitors cushion their shins with straw, wear white coats (to represent a shepherd’s smock) and compete in bouts until a winner emerges.
The event will begin at 6pm when jousting and fighting will take place in the main arena. This is followed by the opening ceremony, before the main games begin at 7.30pm. After the games the ‘Scuttlebrook Queen’ will light a beacon and a torchlit procession will make its way to the square. The party usually carries on into the night.
As well as the games there will be traditional fairground attractions including swing boats, face painting, side shows, a samba band, Morris dancing and street food.
When: 31st May 2019, gates open at 5pm
Where: Dover’s Hill, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire
£: Tickets cost £7 for adults and £3 for children
More info: www.olimpickgames.co.uk