Brompton bike polo
A very British game of Brompton bicycle polo kicked off the day’s pursuits at British Polo Day in Mexico on November 28, before the horseback games began. These polo matches are held in expat hubs around the world including Dubai, Singapore and Abu Dhabi with a Brompton bike battle generally kicking off the day of fun. The next series begins in India on Friday, December 11 (britishpoloday.com).
With their short legs, they’ve no hope of clearing Becher’s Brook or The Chair, but a host of plucky little Shetland Ponies will compete in their own mini version of the Grand National at Olympia on Friday, December 11. The event, featuring young jockeys, takes place every year at the London International Horse of the Year show (olympiahorseshow.com)
The Pancake Race of Olney, Buckinghamshire, takes place every Shrove Tuesday and is open to any female competitor over 18 years old. Each competitor has to flip their pancakes twice during the race and once more on the finish line. This picture is from the mid-1950s but the race dates back to 1445. The next one will be held on February (olneypancakerace.org)
Rival teams, the Up'Ards and Down'Ards, battle for the ball during the annual Shrovetide "no-rules" two-day-long football match in Ashbourne. First played in the 17th century between teams from opposite ends of the Derbyshire town, hundreds of participants aim to get a ball into one of two goals positioned three miles apart. Next year's event will be held on February 9 and 10 (calendarcustoms.com)
On the second bank holiday in May each year, contestants from all over the world gather at the top of Cooper's Hill in Brockworth, Gloucestershire, for the annual cheese-rolling competition. They are watched by thousands of spectators as they tumble down the 200 metre slope - which has a 1:1 gradient in parts - in hot pursuit of a Double Gloucester cheese. The winner gets to keep it. Injuries, including broken bones, are common. The next event is on May (cheese-rolling.co.uk)
Llanwrtyd Wells in Wales is the venue for the annual Man vs Horse Marathon which began in June 1980 following a conversation in the bar of the Neuadd Arms Hotel. The landlord overheard two men discussing the relative merits of men and horses running over mountainous terrain and decided to put this to the test. The next event is on June (green-events.co.uk)
The pretty town of Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds hosts a football match in the River Windrush on the August bank holiday each year. Two teams of six from Bourton Rovers Football Club play a 30 minute football match while getting spectators as wet as possible in the process. This event has been taking place for over 100 years and attracts hundreds of spectators. The next one is on August 29 2016 (thecityofgloucester.co.uk)