Welcome to The Cotswolds!

I love the English Cotswolds and think everyone should visit this beautiful place at least once in their lifetime. Having lived all over the world and traveled as much as possible, I still think that this little part of England is one of the world's greatest treasures. This site is dedicated to helping spread the word and encourage sustainable travel to the Cotswolds.

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Saturday, 6 February 2010

The 2010 Olimpicks Are Just Around the Corner...

If ever there was a sporting event worthy of a weekend mini-holiday, the 2010 Olimpick Games are it.  I am not wrong.  I haven't mistaken the 2012 London Olympics, nor have I misspelled the word.  It is the 400 year old Cotswold Olimpicks in Chipping Campden to which I refer!  Here, we watch grown men engage in the age-old art of shin-kicking rather than watching them run, jump, or swim.  Here are the rather vague details on this year's festivities...

Whilst the 2010 programme details are still being finalised please see the following details from last year's games.

From 7.30 Robert Dover opens the Games in front of his Castle. The Championship of the Hill with local teams and the Castle area. The Five Mile Race and the Junior Circuit begin there and the Shin-Kicking contest follows.

On the upper level areas there are exhibitions of 'Morris Dancing', Dog Displays, Falconry, as well as two bands. In the smaller arena there are displays of Backswords, Single-Stick contests and Tai Kwando (?!). Tug-of-War contests take place.

At 10.00pm the Scuttlebrook Queen lights the bonfire, fireworks colour the sky and then there is the moving Torchlight Procession to the Square in Chipping Campden where dancing in the Square concludes the evening.

Here's a little video from the 2007 Games to whet your appetite:

A Little History, Anyone?

The Games have a long history, possibly going back to the time when the hill was the site of the Kiftsgate Hundred Court.

Their present form takes much from the records of the Games in the early seventeenth century. Prominent is the picture of the Games published in 1636 with a collection of poems entitled Annalia Dubrensia (see Books on Dovers Games) in praise of the Games by reputable poets of the period. 

The title page describes this as 'Olimpick'. The picture depicts Robert Dover presiding over his Games. On the summit of the hill a castle structure has guns firing to start events, and there are representations of the different activities - dancing, backswords, coursing, throwing the sledge hammer, spurning the barre, pike drill, tumbling and even shin-kicking.

The poems by Michael Drayton, Ben Jonson, Thomas Randolph, and others describe the excitement of the contest, the good-humoured rivalry, and, above all, the sense of good honest sportmanship which Robert Dover engendered.


Angela Fielding said...

Love your blog! I just spent a ridiculous about of time looking through it! Thank you for all the info! Do you take all the pictures posted? They are breathtaking!

Kevin Nicholas said...

Thanks, Angela! We take a few of the photos, but most are from locals and travelers to the area. And it really does look just like the photos! ;-)