Has anyone else noticed that Great Britain lays claim to a lot of world competitions? There are The World Egg Throwing Championships, The Pooh Stick World Championships, The Toe Wrestling World Championships and now The World Coal Carrying Championships. The Coal Carrying Championships was born in 1963 at, you guessed it, a local pub. A bet was placed between two patrons to see who could run to the woods with a sack of coal on their back. As it so happens, the secretary of the Gawthorpe Maypole Committee overheard and interjected, saying that if they were going to do a race then they should do it properly. It was decided that Gawthorpe would host the World Coal Carrying Championships each year on Easter Monday.
Fifty years later, the fine men, women and children are still racing with giant sacks of coal on their back. The competitors meet outside the Royal Oak and race a mile to see who comes up with the best time. David Jones, the current male record holder, has a time of 4 minutes and 6 seconds and Catherine Foley, the female champ, is following close behind with 4 minutes and 25 seconds. If you would like to compete, fill out an entry form Here.
If coal carrying isn’t quite your thing, you can check out Gawthorpe a month later for the May Pole Procession, which happens each year on May Day (May 1st). May Pole Dancing is a big tradition in Gawthorpe and dates back to the times of King Richard II. The first May Pole was erected in the town in 1850 and the current one dates back to 1986 after the previous pole (erected in 1953) was deemed unsafe. The Procession route is a 4.5 miles and if you wish to participate with a float or a group you must register at the May Pole Hut (50 yards down from the “shoulder” of “Mutton Pub” in Gawthorpe).
For more information on The Coal Carrying Championships or on the May Pole Procession, check out the Official Website.
When: April 1st 2013
Where: Gawthorpe, United Kingdom