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Brits Do Strangest Things

Friday, 29 January 2010

Leading accommodation and tourism website iknow-uk has been scouring the nation in a bid to discover the most unusual events that take place across the UK.


The UK has a proud history of hosting some of the world's most prestigious events but not many people however would associate the nation with the World Nettle Eating Championships or World Toe Wrestling, unless they are competing at the World's Biggest Liar Championship that is.


In a bid to uncover some of these wacky events, iknow-uk, which operates 13 regional accommodation and hospitality websites in the UK's most popular tourism destinations, has compiled a top 10 list of the most unusual events:


1. World's Biggest Liar Championship - Boasting England's deepest lake, smallest church and highest mountain within its reaches, one more notable feat is annually celebrated in Santon Bridge, if you believe what you hear; the World's Biggest Liar. With a first prize of £100,000 and a lifetime supply of beer, entrants have between two and five minutes to convince a panel of judges that their lie sounds the most credible. The contest bans lawyers and politicians, but only if you own up, and if you think you have what it takes, make sure the chosen topic has local interest.

Bridge Inn, Santon Village, Cumbria. November

For accommodation in Cumbria visit www.iknow-lakedistrict.co.uk


2. World Worm Charming Championship - For 364 days a year it's an idyllic bliss for the worms that reside under a school field in Cheshire. But on one June afternoon all hell breaks loose as 144 teams of two spend 30 minutes on the charm offensive, attempting to lure as many worms as they can out of the ground. Without digging, or using water, it's up to the imagination, cunning and fitness of the competitors to tease the worms up. Experienced worm charmers twang - rocking a fork in the ground back and forth - whilst their partner, clutching a worm pot, chases after the wiggling invertebrates.

Willaston County Primary School, Nantwich, Cheshire. Saturday 26th June

For accommodation in Cheshire visit www.iknow-northwest.co.uk


3. Shin Kicking - In this event, contestants don traditional white smocks, then hold each other by the shoulders and try to kick each other to the ground. The only protection they are allowed is to pack their trousers with straw. http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/474608/

Chipping Campden, Cotswold 'Olympicks'. 4th-5th June


4. World Toe Wrestling - Toe wrestling involves contestants sitting opposite each other on the "Toedium" and placing their feet on a small wooden frame. They lock their big toes and then wrestle both right and left feet in an attempt to force their opponent's foot to the bookend at the side of the frame and claim the crown of World Champion Toe Wrestler. The Championships were devised in the 1970's by George Burgess because he wanted to give England the chance to be world-beaters in at least one sporting sphere. But dreams were soon shattered when a visiting Canadian won the inaugural event.

Bentley Brook Inn, Derbyshire. Saturday 12th June

For accommodation in Derbyshire visit www.iknow-peakdistrict.co.uk


5. World Gurning Championships - Grunting and performing ape like postures score extra points, which should hand the advantage over to male competitors. One former champion even removed some of his teeth to guarantee victory, but such radical steps are not encouraged nowadays. Gurning is not exclusively for the adults, with an earlier contest for children to show off their uglier side. To practice for the 2009 contest, take a bite out of a bitter apple, stand in front of a cheap mirror and gurn away!

Market Hall, Egremont, Cumbria. September

For accommodation in Cumbria visit www.iknow-lakedistrict.co.uk



6. World Black Pudding Throwing Championship - No, this is not another eating contest, but a very odd throwing event. Inspired by the War of the Roses battle, or more likely, concocted after too many beers, competitors each hurl three black puddings, swaddled in ladies tights, at a target of twelve Yorkshire puddings. The winner is whoever knocks off the most Yorkshire Puddings, set on a plinth 30 feet high, with their three throws. Competitors make their way through 300 black puddings during the day. For anyone with a propensity for eating the odd-looking northern delicacy, there are plenty of palatable puddings on offer where hurling is optional. To give you some inside information on winning the event, aim towards the underneath of the loosely secured plinth, in the hope of knocking all twelve puddings off at once and thus securing cult status in Ramsbottom.

Ramsbottom, Lancashire. September

For accommodation in Lancashire visit www.iknow-northwest.co.uk


7. Brambles Bank Cricket - The Brambles Sandbank appears only once a year - and then only for about an hour - midway between Southampton and the Isle of Wight. When it does members of The Royal Southern Yacht Club at Hamble and the Island Sailing Club on the Isle of Wight race out to it... for a cricket match.

Dozens of boats containing participants and spectators wait around Bramble Bank for the sea to subside and reveal the bank once more. As soon as it does appear the stumps are put up and the match gets under way.

The game only lasts as long as the bank lasts (about an hour) and the sea returns to swamp the pitch. The players retreat to their boats and head back to the Isle of Wight for a celebratory dinner. Who wins? Well, the teams seem to take it in turns - after all winning the game or losing it just doesn't seem important. All that matters is having a good time.

Isle of Wight /Southampton.

Date to be confirmed here: http://www.islandsc.org.uk/events.aspx

8. Cheese Rolling - This competition does exactly as the name suggests. The cheese is released down the hill and the competitors must chase the cheese all the way to the bottom. The first person to arrive at the foot of the hill wins...Simple, but dangerous.

Cooper's Hill, Gloucestershire. Monday 31st May

9. Bog Snorkelling - One of the dirtiest weekends in sports is held every August in the smallest town in Britain, Llanwrtyd Wells, and the cause is none other than the Bog Snorkeling World Championships. The racecourse is no more than a trench on the outskirts of Llanwrtyd, roughly 150 feet long and four 4 deep. Each year it draws over 100 participants from all over the world to compete for this coveted quirky championship title. To add to the hilarity, fancy dress and costumes are encouraged and rules govern against using conventional swimming strokes.


Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales. August Bank Holiday Monday

For accommodation in Wales visit www.iknow-wales.co.uk


10. Abbots Bromley Horn Dance - The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, performed at the Barthelmy Fair in August 1226, is one of the few ritual rural customs to survive the passage of time. Today the Horn Dance, which takes place annually on Wakes Monday, offers a fascinating day out attracting visitors from all over the world.


Abbots Bromley, Staffordshire. Monday 6th September


For more information visit www.iknow-uk.com

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Notes to Editors:


-          iknow-uk ltd launched iknow-yorkshire in September 2003. They have since launched iknow-lakedistrict, iknow-northwest, iknow-cornwall, iknow-devon, iknow-wales, iknow-scotland, iknow-dorset, iknow-kent, iknow-somerset, iknow-sussex, iknow-hampshire and iknow-northeast .

-                      April 2009 saw the launch of a comprehensive hospitality section to iknow-yorkshire, which is also available on iknow-lakedistrict, iknow-northwest , iknow-devon, iknow-cornwall and soon to be available on iknow-wales