The purpose of travel is to experience new things and take ones self out of your comfort zone. Unfortunately, the way our travel plans have worked we have been waist deep in work for a sustained period of time. So one Friday evening after a long day of picking asparagus and beans we flopped into chairs around the kitchen table. Moments later our house host entered and informed us that there was a local fair and sporting event that we might be interested in.
After turbo showers and a brief snack, we were out the door. Only an hour later than ideal. We trundled off down the English countryside towards Chipping Campden, (Chipping in old English means to market, or the market town.)
Arriving in Chipping Campden we parked in Campden high school and walked through the township to the city centre to catch a bus to the top of a nearby hill. Where we found the activities were already underway. The bus arrived and we boarded, with roast pork buns in hand (however lacking in any sort of salad… this seems to be a British thing.) After a 3-minute bus ride up quite a steep hill, we arrived at our destination.
Welcome to the Cotswold Olympics!
Being held on the top of Cots hill with the “games zone” at the bottom of an embankment. There were amazing views of the surrounding countryside, farmland and hamlets in the distance. Various different games and activities had been held over the day. After watching a few activities there was a call for volunteers for shin kicking because they had some open spaces. What is shin kicking you may ask ..? well let me tell you!
The Rules of Shin Kicking
Competitors will be assigned bouts at random, with winners of all rounds gaining entry to a final bout. Usually, there will be a maximum of 12 contestants.
- Equipment – Competitors must wear long trousers or tracksuits and may cushion their shins by using straw (provided). They will be provided with white coats, representing the traditional shepherd’s smock. (Participants may purchase their smock afterwards for £25) Footwear may be trainers, shoes, or soft-toed (i.e. un-reinforced) boots. Any form of metal-reinforced toe on footwear is expressly forbidden. This will now be checked both before and after your bouts! Failure to comply will result in instant exclusion, and barring from future events!
- Stance. A competitor begins by holding his or her opponent by the shoulders (or lapels) with arms straight.
- The contest will be started, finished (if necessary) and judged, by an arbiter, known as a Stickler. The Stickler decides the fairness of a contest.
- Contest is decided on the best of three throws – i.e. two successful throws results in a win. Note that this may be reduced to one throw in the event of poor weather, or the maximum number of competitors reached.
Having stuffed my jean legs with straw and having been introduced to the crowd I found myself gripping shoulders and staring into the eyes of a skin headed, very serious English man. Who just happened to be the 3-time shin kicking world champion!!!!!! The stickler gave his command and the kicking of shins commenced.
A fury of grunting and pushing and high velocity shod feet hurtling towards straw padded shins began! The best tactic is to kick shins and use sideways throws to try and off balance the opposition. Through intense force and a fair bit of share luck I managed to score the first point, however it went downhill from there. My opponent scored the next two points, securing him the win and movement into the semi-finals.
With many a bruise rapidly growing on my legs I retired behind the lines and removed the straw from my jeans. After a brief look around the remainder of the park and with no sympathy coming from Courtney as; “You decided it was a good idea”. And a ever increasing limp we wandered the 2 miles back to town in the decaying evening light. We had an early start the following morning, we headed home but not before snapping some pics of the township.
Thank you everyone for clicking in and having a read. Coming soon will be post about 3 counties agriculture show, our trip to Snowdonia National park and other adventures of the next few weeks, stay safe and stay tuned for more out the gate adventures.