Monday 26 December 2011

Grantchester Barrel Race

Today saw the super-athletes of Grantchester and the surrounding villages line up for the annual Boxing Day barrel race.

The event started way back in the ancient days of the last century, its exact origins lost in the mists of time; but at sometime someone-and-his-mates challenged someone-else-and-their-mates to a race, rolling beer barrels through the streets of the village. This soon became a race involving teams from the four pubs.

The victorious team today was from the smallest pub in the village, The Blue Ball.

In the spirit of the times a women's race was added.

Each race is a back-and-forth relay so there is plenty of scope for collisions.

There are now several team races and "international" competition in the form of teams from the neighbouring villages. So here are some more photos....

....with the team from Impington dressed as Imps, of course.....

Well, that's the end of racing for another year!

Take care.


  1. That looks like a lot of fun:) Were you an onlooker or a participant?

  2. Now, this looks like a lot of fun! Which is your pub?

  3. I was taken aback by the title. What? They have barrel racing in the UK? I should have know it would have been something different. In the US, barrel racing involves horses, and usually women riders. The barrels stand still, at least that's an objective, as the riders and horses make tight turns around them going as fast as they can. Jim

  4. Woo, that looks fun - must be hard work!

  5. What an interesting event. It looks like fun but, not too easy to do. I love how everyone watching is haveing such a great time.

  6. This looks like great fun! There's an annual wheelbarrow race in Bakewell closer to me but I've never joined it!

  7. What a crazy idea--I can just hear some guys saying, "Hey yall, let's have a race with barrels!" It sure looks like fun, John.

  8. Rowan: It certainly is a fun event; last year 1,400 people came to watch - and probably about the same this year. Spectator, I'm afraid it's a young person's game!
    Jack: I used to be a regular in The Blue Ball for many years but only have an occasional pint now.
    Jim: I only found out about the US version by looking for videos on YouTube.
    jennyfreckles, Louise and Dianne: Yes, it is hard work - those barrels just don't want to go in a straight line!
    Sharon: Nice to hear from you, I enjoy your photos.
    Sue: Apart from the word "Y'all", which is never used in England, you seem to have summed up the origin of the race quite neatly. I think it started in the 1950's when their were several workers from the Star Brewery living in the village; they would have been used to rolling barrels. Incidentally, last year some of the barrels disintegrated which caused even more chaos!

  9. I seem to have missed this one when it came round first time (it was one of the suggested blogs at the bottom of another). I love these strange sports that some towns dream up from time to time - they all seem to have an element of rebellion against health and safety in them :)


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