2023 Coopers Hill Cheese Rolling
Since time immemorial, the annual cheese rolling has been held at Coopers Hill in Gloucestershire. Coopers Hill is steep, very steep. Twenty competitors assemble at the top, a cheese is released and they then race headlong down the hill at full speed.
First across the line wins the cheese.
In recent years the event has attracted ever larger crowds with people coming from across the world to take part and spectate.
29th May 2023 was no different, there were thousands of people.
Table of Contents
- 30-May-2023: First pictures
- 31-May-2023: More pictures/text
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The Cheese Rolling Race
As the competitors line up at the start, the crowd chants “Cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese” with the energy of warriors about to go into battle as the Master of Ceremonies lifts the wheel of cheese the competitors will be chasing after.
The cheese is released, quickly followed by the competitors who, within a couple of steps, start tumbling down the near vertical hillside. Coopers Hill turns into a seething mass of humans, gravity taking the tidal wave of bodies accelerating down the hill.
The course being dry for 2023, the look of an avalanche was completed by the dust competitors kicked up.
Preparing For Racing
A group of volunteers get Coopers Hill ready for its big day, mowing the grass and clearing the course. These same people will be the people clearing up after the spectators have left.
The 2023 cheeses were supplied by Smart’s Traditional Gloucester Cheese and sponsored by Jem Drain Care. The wrapping of the cheeses was done be several local groups: Ridgemount Nursery, Witcombe Toddler Group, Milbrook Residential Home, Brockworth Youth Club and James Hopkins Trust for whom there was a charity collection on race day.
There are several men’s and women’s downhill races as well as uphill races for the less brave adults and children.
The race has been described as “Twenty young men chasing a cheese off a cliff and tumbling 200 yards to the bottom, where they are scraped up by paramedics and packed off to hospital”.
The Rugby Club Catchers
The race participants hurtle downhill mostly out of control so need a bit of help stopping. There is only one group of people locally who have the skills to stop humans coming towards them at great speed – the local rugby club! Brockworth Rugby Football Club form a stop line at the bottom of the hill to tackle the competitors before they run into the hedge.
Worldwide interest in the Coopers Hill Cheese Rolling is intense. The event has grown in popularity worldwide as the Internet brought it to new audiences and international film crews came to make programs about the crazy English race. The 2023 races were filmed by Norwegian and Japanese film makers. In 2020 Netflix released a documentary series “We Are The Champions” with one 30 minute episode dedicated to the race.
Crowds of Spectators
Thousands of spectators turned up to witness an annual quirky English tradition. Those who had the best views had started arriving at 10:00 ready for the racing at 12:00. Everyone was there to enjoy themselves. With that many people in such a small area, mobile phone coverage rapidly became overwhelmed to the point even basic text messages kept failing to send.