It is that time again where the cream of the sporting crop from each country compete in what is notably the most competitive, and celebrated competition in the world. Every 4 years the Olympic Games take place and without fail we are awed by the spectacular talent gracing our television screens. Apart from making us mere mortals feel crushingly average and talentless, the reaction to the Olympics is often nothing but positive, from the infectious team spirit and camaraderie to an increase in enthusiasm for sport in general. The recent exhibition of sport has naturally led us to explore the unique local sporting events and traditions found in The Lake District. Want to get involved? Much of what is occurring encourages public participation (and no, you won’t have to be subject to suspiciously green swimming pools, yay!)
Although no globally recognised sports have been founded in our area, and we are not the home of any Premier League football teams, there is ONE sport that has been synonymous with Cumbria and Lakeland for generations. Cumberland & Westmorland Wrestling. Every bit as glamorous as it sounds, C&WW is an active traditional sport in Cumbria with people also competing in Lancashire, Scotland, Durham and Northumberland. Its origins are thought to be with the Vikings, who apparently brought the sport with them to England (and of course, it stuck in Cumbria). Many of us will be familiar with the wrestling we see on our screens, but I can assure you, this type of wrestling is very different. For instance, to mark the beginning of a match the wrestlers must “tekk hod”, which involves the competitors linking their fingers together behind the backs of their opponent. This has been known to take a while… The contest is always held on grass and is ‘best of three falls’. If the hand hold is broken, that also constitutes a fall.
Skill and strength is required to be a successful C&W wrestler. All that exhibitionism that you see with the American style wrestling simply won’t cut it! The dress code is also remarkably different. Some people think that the wonderfully flattering traditional white long-johns are the norm, but in fact, they are only compulsory in the world championships.
Discover more at http://www.cumberland-westmorland-wrestling-association.com/
For an event slightly less physical, but far more inclusive, Cumbria is host of the 2016 All England Stone Skimming Championships. Taking place on the 20th August (11am-4pm) at Fell Foot Park beside Lake Windermere, the All England Stone Skimming Championships are officially recognised within the sporting world, and participation could not be easier. Men, women and children (under 11s and 11s to 16s), as well as teams, can all enter and try to scoop an official English sporting title. And what a title it is! A ticket to the event will cost £3 for an adult and £1 for a child, and all the money raised will be used by the South Cumbria Rivers Trust and National Trust to assist conservation in the South Lakes.
Although you won’t be receiving any titles, here are some more local events that will guarantee to get your blood pumping:
Explore the Shores of Windermere by Bike at Ambleside – 31st August 2016
You will be guided on a traffic-free route out of Ambleside by British Cycling-trained leaders using quiet minor roads and the cycle trails to Hawkshead. The journey includes a cycle around the beautiful Esthwaite Water then onto Near Sawrey, home of Beatrix Potter. The route continues down to Lake Windermere, where a lake shore trail to leads to Wray Castle and its beautiful grounds, before returning to Ambleside.
Triathlon at Buttermere – September 10th 2016
Love a challenge? Well look no further. Swim Buttermere Lake, cycle the steep climbs of Whinlatter and Honister Passes, and finally, run around the shoreline of Crummock Water. The swim is 1.5 kilometres, the cycle road route 44 kilometres, and the run 13 kilometres.
Take On The Lakes – September 16th 2016
Take on the elements this September! This event encourages team of 4 to walk, cycle and canoe in under 12 hour in the heart of the Lake District.
Challenge 1. Complete a 12 kilometre trek in the Furness Fells to the summit of Coniston Old Man in 5 hours.
Challenge 2. Cycle a 25 kilometre trail in the Grizedale Forest in 4 hours.
Challenge 3. Paddle across Coniston water in under 3 hours.
The money raised will go towards the cost of providing a powered chair for a disabled child courtesy of Whizz-Kidz.
Festival of the Fells – September 22 – 25th 2016
A unique festival to the U.K. Organised by “Ambleside Together”, it’s an event to celebrate the wonderful landscapes, seascapes, traditions, culture, history, and outdoor activities of the Lake District and Cumbria. During the 4 days, there will be guided walks over Loughrigg and Wansfell, Red Screes, and the Fairfield Horseshoe, swimming in the lakes and tarns, food from local produce, music, and more.
Come and explore the somewhat specific, but undoubtedly enjoyable sporting events and traditions taking place in The Lake District and the surrounding area over the next few months. You may not win a medal, but you’ll certainly walk away with memories and perhaps a new skill!