There are 5 downhill cheese races (one is for ladies). - Starting at 12:00 Midday.
There are 4 uphill races (Boys Under 12's, Girls Under 12's, Mens Open & Womens Open)
At the top of the hill, competitors (any number from 2 to a maximum of about 20) sit in a line and wait.
The Master of Ceremonies escorts an invited guest to the start line and helps him / her to sit on the precipitous slope, holding a 7-8lb. 'Double Gloucester' cheese.
(Photos of Bill Brookes and Tom Windo by kind permission of Gloucester Folk Museum)
At the command (given by the M.C.) of ........
........ the guest 'roller' releases the cheese, which rolls down the hill at great speed,
The M.C. continues .....
.... 'and FOUR to be off!'
At this point the competitors hurl themselves down the slope after the cheese.
The first person to arrive at the foot of the hill wins the cheese.
Those who come second or third receive a small cash prize.
The slope has a gradient that is in places 1-in-2 and in others 1-in-1, its surface is very rough and uneven and it is almost impossible to remain on foot for the descent. Injuries incurred are usually minor and competitors (particularly the successful ones) enter again year after year.
The 5 downhill races are held at twenty minute intervals, one is a ladies' race.
Between the downhill races there are also uphill races., one for boys of 12years and under, one for girls and an 'open' race there is an open mens and open womens uphill race too!
Obviously no cheeses are rolled, but a small cheese is the prize for the winner of each race.
REAL CHEESES ARE USED!
However, during the rationing period of 1941-1954 a wooden substitute was used, this had a small niche that contained a token piece of cheese.
At the end of the proceedings, sweets used to be scattered on the hill for a children's 'scramble'. Before this, in earlier years, buns, biscuits and cake had been used. This tradition has now, sadly, been discontinued like many other aspects of the past events.
During the day, there is a box-collection among the public in aid of the year's charity, nominated by CHCRC Ltd.
|Webmaster - Last Edited 19-Jan-2011 19:52:38 avsglos|