Redefine Your Definition of Outdoor Athletics with These Weird British Sports

There’s nothing quite like outdoor sports for getting the dopamine pumping and cheering yourself up – but for a double hit of dopamine plus laughter, the British Isles could be the destination you seek.

Those green fields and misty pastures tend to fill up with weekender sportspeople come rain or shine, and while you’ll be familiar with soccer and cricket you might be surprised to see some of the other games the Brits have invented.

Intrigued? The people at Holiday Cottages created this fun set of Olympics-inspired illustrations to give you a better idea of what you’re letting yourself in for before you strap on your boots and wade into the mud!

World Bog Snorkelling Championship

Britain’s tiniest town becomes the focus of international swamp-swimming enthusiasts for one day every summer. You may consider yourself an adventurous sort of person, but if you’ve never gone headfirst into a Welsh bog then you’ve still got plenty to prove!

World Black Pudding Throwing Championship

There are folk that like to eat breakfast. And there are folk that like to throw their breakfast as a feat of strength. Which are you?

Caber Toss

There are folk that like to climb trees. And there are folk that like to throw trees… well, you get the point by now: in the UK, there’s nothing that they won’t chuck. This philosophy is particularly acute in Scotland, where the Highland Games is a magnet for the strongest tree-huggers in the land.

British Lawn Mower Racing Championship

If racing motorized lawnmowers sounds like an American sort of pursuit, only the British would come up with naming their contest ‘Le Mow’. If you’re the kind of guy who only feels alive with the smell of sweat, gas, and freshly-cut grass in your nostrils, make your way to Five Oaks, West Sussex, next August.

Hurling the Silver Ball

Hurling a silver ball may sound relatively civilized – we all love a bit of shot put, right? Well, during the St. Ives Feast, things tend to get a little hairy. Think of it as a cross between rugby and Grand Theft Auto on the streets of a pleasant Cornwall town. You can always go surfing afterwards to wash the blood off.

World Welly Wanging Championship

Way down in Upperthong, Yorkshire, they take their Wellington boot-throwing contest very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that a veritable rule book has evolved, to make sure everybody plays fairly – sample rule: “The standard welly shall be the Dunlop green, size 9, non steel toe-cap. Competitors shall select whether they use left or right welly.” Those British, eh? Always so equivocal.

Tetbury Woolsack Race

This 17thcentury race evolved as a means to impress the womenfolk. It must’ve worked, because the descendents of those sheep-bearing athletes continue to chase up and down Gumstool Hill with a sack of wool on their backs today. Only difference is, now women can take part too.

World Toe-Wrestling Championship

Like all genres of wrestling, toe-wrestling is just as much about brains as it is brawn. It’s no good having toes of steel if your posture is all wrong – you’ll simply get leveraged to the mat. That said, toes of steel are less likely to break than regular toes, so they’re not exactly a disadvantage.

Egg Jarping Competition

Any guesses on what ‘jarping’ means? No, it doesn’t mean ‘throwing’. This one requires your eggs to be hardboiled, and the harder the better, since ‘to jarp’ is ‘to tap’ – yep, it’s egg-on-egg boxing (more or less) and the first one to crack, loses.

World Stinging Nettle Eating Championship

Perhaps the definitive ‘outdoor’ contest, since you don’t get much closer to nature than eating it, contestants of the World Nettle Eating Championship have all the same been labeled ‘idiots’ by the desk jockeys of Vice. Well, perhaps they’re right – is there really anything wrong with sticking to a good old-fashioned cup of nettle tea?

Never mind Pyeongchang, the real outdoors action is taking place in Britain in 2018!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

G. John Cole

John writes on behalf of NeoMam Studios. He is a digital nomad and his passions include world cinema, the beautiful outdoors, and biscuits. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spott...