The Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling event is famous worldwide for its unique, quirky and quite simply crazy activities! Essentially, the event consists of people chasing (or more often than not, rolling) down a very steep hill after huge pieces of cheese. Thousands of spectators gather from across the world every year to watch these distinctive and perceptively foolish escapades. There are many injuries and the British police have been trying their best to prevent this tradition from continuing.
Prior to attending the event I had read an article in The Sun demonstrating that police had gone to new lengths this year to prevent the now unofficial event from taking place due to health and safety concerns. Police had threatened an elderly 25 year long cheese donator, saying that if she donated the cheese she would be to blame for any injuries.
Over the years, largely due to globalisation etc, much of Britain’s individuality has been lost. The Cheese Rolling festival though has maintained its cultural importance in our society and has been a significant event year on year. Therefore, just days before my first Cheese Rolling event, I was horrified to read that the police had taken such action.
On arrival at the event police were manning the streets and had blocked off surrounding streets; forcing spectators to climb over styles and through cow filled fields up the steep hill to where the runners would perform. However, despite all these police efforts the event witnessed its biggest turn out yet, with other 3000 visitors to the infamous Coopers Hill.
We all crammed between bushes, uncut grass, and stinging nettles, anxiously awaiting the cheese rolling antics. I watched the races and they were very enjoyable. [More about this coming up in the next post]. However, it wasn’t until afterwards that I was informed of the lack of authenticity at the event….
As a result of the police refusing to let cheese be donate, and to due to health and safety, the huge Gloucestershire cheeses that were traditionally chased down the hill were replaced by foam!
Yes that’s right-FOAM! The event is based around the traditional Gloucestershire cheese, and yet this has now been taken away, and what’s more was that I was none-the-wiser the entire time. I had absolutely no idea that this years event would revolve around foam at all. Does this make a difference? Well perhaps not. But I can’t help but feel that I have been cheated out of my authentic cheese rolling experience.
What are your thoughts? Is the tradition gone? Should this be allowed to happen?
Cheese or foam?
I thoroughly enjoyed my day at Coopers Hill and I hope they tradition is allowed to continue for years to come.