Bored of rugby? Take a look at Alternative Welsh Sporting Traditions

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In the first of several recent visits around Wales to look at Welsh Sporting events that are slightly less popular than a Six Nations Rugby International, Dai Bandy visited Cwm Honking, where the annual Turd Hurling Competition took place last week

Turd Hurling Competition

Local resident and sheep enthusiast, Barry Woolwich believes that Cwm Honkin’s rather smelly celebration may have been inspired by the Bagwal Mela festival in Northern India, where two groups of locals hurl rocks at each other until blood is spilt. He told me:

“For as long as I can remember, we’ve been chucking sheep shit at each other but obviously this is a little less violent than the Indian version. We just keep going until the poo runs out. It’s a little bit like a good snowball fight – you know you need the right type of snow. It’s the same with the sheep shit. We have to put them on a strict high fibre diet in the lead up to the big day to ensure that the crap has the right consistency to chuck.”

This year, Cwm Honkin’s ‘Uppa Town’ beat their ‘Lowa’ rivals. Umpire Billy Whistleblower went on to tell me:

“There’s not too many rules, but it’s similar to paintballing. You get a visible mark on your clothes and you’re out. Effectively, it’s last man standing.”

Given the smell around the village when I visited, you can tell where Cwm Honkin got its name from.

Slug Flirting World Championships

Cheshire may have the Worm Charming World Championships, yet the residents of Ystrad Gwlithod believe that their Slug Flirting competition trumps it. The rules are simple – competitors have to use their best chat up lines to convince their slug to attach itself to their top lip. Local Mayor, Cllr Stephen B. Quick introduced me to his slug Chloe. Cllr Quick went on to say that it’s important for competitors to keep their chat up lines original if they want to stand any chance of winning. I do feel sorry for the females of the village, knowing that the chat up lines they’re on the receiving end of were previously trialled on something that just got removed from a lettuce leaf!

Husband Carrying Competition

Finland can proudly boast the first-ever wife-carrying competition, but not to be outdone, a number of villages in west Wales have developed this competition into a unique challenge of their own, where the roles are reversed and the women carry the men. Last season’s winner, Heather ‘Abs’ Anderson triumphantly told me:

“The Finnish competition got us thinking. Could we change things up and get women to do the work? Simple rules, the husband must weigh 1.25 times as much as the wife and if he touches the floor at any point on the course, the couple are disqualified.”

Bo-taoshi- Valleys Version

After Ellis Williams went on honeymoon to Japan and saw the sport of Bo-taoshi, he was adamant that he wanted to bring a version of it to the South Wales valleys. Unfortunately, things didn’t start off too well. As Ellis told me:

“Thing is, I knew we needed two long poles so I thought the ones holding up the electricity wires in the village would do. First game we played, we done real good and got our first player up the pole but he touched a live wire. RIP Don, you were on fire that day, literally! So we realised that telegraph poles were a better option and now have over 30 regular players. Basically two teams beat fuck out of each other in an attempt to get someone to the top of the pole. Epic it is, I tell you.”

Ellis did invite me to join in a game, but unfortunately, my acrophobia stopped me.

Vegetable Regatta

My final visit was to the beautiful mountains of North Wales. There is an ongoing argument between the city of Portland and residents of Snowdonia National Park. In October every year, Portland’s finest carve out huge pumpkins which they climb inside and paddle as fast as they can in a regatta. A month later on the other side of the Atlantic, international competitors from around the world take the train to the top of Snowdon. They then toboggan down on giant leeks that they have to have grown themselves. Now, here lies the problem. Which came first, the pumpkin or the leek?

Records indicate that both competitions started circa. 1856 but there is no definitive proof to support either case. Cheryl Grinfingerz who lives in a farm on the eastern Slopes of Snowdon has won the competition for the last five years.

“My leeks are massive,” she told me. “With the right type of lubrication, I can get them flying down those slopes.” Clearly she knows her stuff! Cheryl then told me that she had grown a giant pumpkin with the intention of going to Portland to try and beat the Yanks at their own game, however, the attempt failed.

“The buggers at customs wouldn’t let me in with any produce,” Cheryl stated. “I think they’d been paid off,” she said. Talk about sour grapes!

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