Britain has a long and varied past – it has been conquered repeatedly, it has conquered others, and it has colonised half the planet. Through its history, many strange traditions and festivals have arisen.
Of course, there are oodles of odd rituals globally, but the blogista (moi) gets to call the shots (on this page anyway) and I like to talk about things British.
The Egremont Crab Fair – one of England’s weirder events – gets its name from crab apples rather than the marine variety. It started back in the 13th century when the Lord of the Manor gave away crab apples to the populace. In fact, to this day, the Parade of the Apple Cart, where apples are thrown into the crowds on the Main Street, is part of the fair. There are a host of other non-mechanized, traditional events – greasy pole climbing; a pipe smoking contests; a talent show; Cumberland wrestling; a hounds trail. But let’s face it, the reason Egremont makes the news every year is the gurning competition. Home of the Gurning World Championships.
Gurning, involves a rubber-faced skill that is totally bizarre and unique to this part of England. Contestants put their heads through horse collar or braffin while they create the ugliest, most grotesque faces they can manage. A certain amount of skill is involved but a lot of beer and a certain amount of toothlessness probably has an impact as well. Celebrities occasionally have a go and the national news usually features the winning gurners.
Worm charming is a way to of attracting earthworms from the ground. Many do it to collect bait for fishing. But there are also those who do it as sort of sport. The village of Willaston, near Nantwich, Cheshire is the place where since 1980 the annual World Championships have been organized. The competition was actually initiated by local man Tom Shufflebotham who on the 5th of July, 1980 charmed 511 worms from the ground in only half an hour. The competition has 18 rules. A few are – Each competitor competes in the 3 x 3 metre area. Music of any kind can be used to charm worms out of the ground. No drugs can be used. Water is considered to be a drug (stimulant).
Yes indeed, you read correctly, bog snorkelling. Basically participants dive into a bog, wearing goggles, a pair of flippers and a snorkel, they then proceed to race each other along a 120ft trench filled with mud. Held every year, the participants come from all over the world and raise lots of money for charity.
Legend has it that bog snorkelling was invented near Llanwrtyd Wells in Wales in 1976. It began, as great things often do, over a pint (or probably several) at The Neuadd Arms public house. Mr Gorden Green is said to have had the idea whilst talking to some of the locals.
We promise that when we source your water for your water coolers that we don’t throw the sourcers (or should that be sourcerers – hyuk) into various bogs to see how they manage in water. AquAid’s water comes from three different sources throughout the U.K.
We also don’t make anyone from any of your convenient AquAid branches charm worms or try their hand (face) at gurning.