World Coal Carrying Championship at Gawthorpe Again

Every year the World Coal Carrying Championship is held in Yorkshire on Easter Monday. At Easter in Gawthorpe grown men l run the mile from The Beehive public house to the Royal Oak, known locally as t’Barracks , carrying a hundred weight sack of coal.  The 54th World Coal Carrying Championship is scheduled for Easter Monday 2017. Bookings

coal mens race 2

According to the organisers this is how the World Championship came about ‘Reggie Sedgewick and one Amos Clapham, a local coal merchant and current president of the Maypole Committee were enjoying some well-earned liquid refreshment whilst stood at the bar lost in their own thoughts. When in bursts one Lewis Hartley in a somewhat exuberant mood. On seeing the other two he said to Reggie, ” Ba gum lad tha’ looks buggered !” slapping Reggie heartily on the back. Whether because of the force of the blow or because of the words that accompanied it, Reggie was just a little put out.‘’ Ah’m as fit as thee’’ he told Lewis, ‘’an’ if tha’ dun’t believe me gerra a bagga coil on thi back an ‘ah’ll get one on mine an ‘ah’ll race thee to t’ top o’ t’ wood !’’ ( Coil, let me explain is Yorkshire speak for coal ). While Lewis digested the implications of this challenge a Mr. Fred Hirst, Secretary of the Gawthorpe Maypole Committee ( and not a man to let a good idea go to waste) raised a cautioning hand. ” ‘Owd on a minute,’’ said Fred and there was something in his voice that made them all listen. ‘Aven’t we been looking fer some’at to do on Easter Monday? If we’re gonna ‘ave a race let’s ‘ave it then. Let’s ‘ave a coil race from Barracks t’ Maypole.’

2009 was the 46th World Coal Carrying Championship and the BBC claim these facts about world champions
1. Window cleaners, builders and farmers are the most successful at winning the title
2. The best weight for an entrant to be is 10st 7lb
3. Competitors need to have strong legs and lungs

The sponsors are H.B.Clark independent brewers of Wakefield so a fourth fact  would be an appetite for beer.
coal female winner

Gawthorpe is between Dewsbury and Osset and also has a good May Day tradition. with dancing on the FIRST SATURDAY IN MAY EVERY YEAR. Gawthorpe itself can be dated back to the Romans and is believed to be named after a Viking Chief called “Gorky “. At the lower end of the village is an earth mound known as Fairy Hill. This is thought to be a Viking burial mound.

It is confirmed that a coal mine was established at Gawthorpe as long ago as 1366 during the reign of Edward III

Maypole dancing itself dates back as far as Richard II in England, and during the reign of Henry VIII reached most of the rural villages including Gawthorpe. Mayday itself became a public holiday until Oliver Cromwell (1649 – 1660) banned May Merrymaking and all such festivities. These were fortunately re-established by Charles II.

Photo credits
coal mens race 2 by SFB579 CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
coal female winner by SFB579 CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Dougie World Trials Champion From Silsden


When Dougie Lampkin was only 33 but he had already accumulated 12 World Championship titles including 7 consecutive World Outdoor Championships and 5 Indoor.

Motor bikes   run in the Lampkin family. Dougie’s father Martin was the first trials world champion in 1975. Dougie’s  uncle Arthur was even more famous, riding for the army in 1958 and becoming nationally famous during the sixties.  Scrambling was often on the TV and many lads dreamt of riding a bike as Arthur so frequently did.
Alan Lampkin was the other less successful brother but he did win the Scottish six day trial in 1966.

Pictures of Arthur


‘Even at the age of forty years old Red Bull athlete Dougie Lampkin continues to rewrite the history books as he added a record extending tenth Scottish Six Days Trial (SSDT) victory to his palmares that also includes an impressive twelve FIM Trial World titles and ninety-nine Grand Prix wins. To put Dougie’s latest achievement in to its true context, no other rider has won the SSDT more than five times during its more than one-hundred-year history.’ Red Bull Update

We should have this sport as an Olympic event! If we did Dougie’s existing MBE for services to sport would be upgraded!

Fred Trueman Still Speaks Out

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Frederick Sewards Trueman OBE Fred Trueman to All Yorkshire Folk

All Yorkshiremen have a favourite Fred Trueman story and mine goes something like this: Opening the bowling as usual from the Kirkstall Lane End Fred’s first ball rapped the openers pads and Fred bellowed Owzat only to get a firm shake of the head from the umpire, the next ball created an audible snick and firmly Fred appealed to get an even firmer ‘Not Out’, on the third ball Trueman flattened the middle stump and remarked to the umpire ‘Well umpire we nearly had him that time!’

Fred was a great raconteur and afterdinner speaker amongst his sporting tallents and this CD brings back many memories and the dulcet tones of a great Yorkshire personality and character. I for one wish he were still around to give vent on Twitter, that is about twitter not using it like some current footballers.

Bluebells in Woods

Take a walk on the wild side in April or May and the chances are you will smell the wonderful scent of our Yorkshire bluebells.
Bluebells grow best under the edge of woodland in dappled shade of deciduous trees. The sun and light in spring, before the tree leaves fully develop, encourages the nodding, bell shaped, violet-blue flowers of our native bulbs.

Unlike the foreign imports from Spain and Italy our Yorkshire Bluebells have a wonderful scent. They can also be recognised by the curved back petals and creamy-white anthers.

The scent attract insects to Bluebells delicately scented flowers which aids pollination. The resultant seed helps spread the bluebells into large drifts.

God’s Own County is part serious / part humorous look at the great county of Yorkshire. Everything from the wonderful scenery of the Yorkshire Dales and Yorkshire Moors to the best place to park your bike in Leeds city centre. We celebrate the great icons of Yorkshire from Hannah Hauxwell to Bernard Ingham and Geoffrey Boycott.

We cover everything from photos of ‘Idle – Working Man’s Club’ to the growing movement of Yorkshire Independence!

We love to hear from anyone with a passion for Yorkshire or you can just enjoy the typical Yorkshire wit.

‘Now Willie you mustn’t be selfish you should let your brother have the sledge half the time’.
‘I do Mum, I have it coming down and he has it going up’.

Classic Yorkshire Bluebell Locations

  • Our native bluebell, Hyacinthoides non-scripta, is widespread in low level woodland such as Freeholders Wood Nature Reserve Wensleydale
  • Other good smelling spots include Bratt Wood near Hull Nunburnholme
  • Stittenham Wood Sheriff Hutton
  • Sutton Wood Sutton-on-Derwent
  • Burton Bushes Bluebell walk Beverley
  • Hackfall Wood near Ripon
  • Middleton Woods Ilkley and Grass Wood in Wharfedale.
  • Newton Woods at Roseberry Topping
  • Millington Wood near Pocklington & Hagg Wood Dunnington
  • Renishaw House and Woolley Woods Sheffield
  • Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire A hidden beauty spot near Hebden Bridge. The three-mile Mill Walk is the ideal place to see a mass of bluebells in spring..

Wisden on Yorkshire and Yorkshire on Wisden

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Yorkshire lad Duncan Hamilton has produced a tour-de-force for Wisden and a compilation about all that is great about Yorkshire Cricket.
This season is shaping up to be great year too so expect another edition soon but buy a first edition from Amazon

  • The blurb on the book undersells the county a bit……’Yorkshire County Cricket Club is by far the most successful county cricket club in history.’
  • The facts are made to speak for themselves……’Since the County Championship was constituted in 1890, Yorkshire has in addition to one shared Championship, won it outright on 30 occasions and Yorkshire cricket supporters take great pride in the county’s cricketing history’.
  • The characters get a reasonable billing……….’As well as the club’s successes, there have been 42 Yorkshire players chosen as Wisden Cricketers of the Year. Many have been world-class cricketers such as Wilfred Rhodes, Len Hutton, Fred Trueman and Geoffrey Boycott, with distinguished England careers.’ Do not forget Yorkshire man Jim Laker who never played for his home county.
  • Yorkshire cricket seems to have helped to keep Wisden in business…………..’Many thousands of Wisden pages have been filled with Yorkshire cricket, Yorkshire cricketers and Tests in Yorkshire.’

What is the book about? ‘Wisden on Yorkshire is a fascinating journey mixing great matches, personalities, feats, controversies and unusual occurrences. Presenting the best Yorkshire information from the Almanack archives,

  • Focus on the iconic Yorkshire players, such as Truman and Boycott
  • Cricketers of the Year and Obituaries.
  • The County’s history, highlighting significant years and extracts from reviews of those years.
  • Fascinating stories of both the highs and lows in the club’s history.
  • Colour plate section containing superb classic images.
  • Detailed records, match reports and scorecards.

We also recommend reading Slipless In Settle: A Slow Turn Around Northern Cricket by Harry Pearson is a book on Yorkshire Village and League cricket that will give you a wry smile or three.

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‘A witty rumination on Yorkshire cricketers and the nature of manliness … very good indeed … offers some chucklesome insights into the personalities involved’ — We’ll Get Them in Sequins traces the style & ups & downs of Yorkshire cricket through seven cricketers from George Hirst (1871 – 1954) through Sutcliffe, Verity, Trueman, Boycott, and Gough to Michael Vaughan (1974 – ) using this to illustrate changes in the ideas of manliness through that time.

Sport Stars of Sheffield

Danny Willett has captured the Yorkshire spirit with his golfing prowess. The Masters victory in Atlanta is partially attributed to his early training at Rotherham course in Birley Wood.

Joe Root has enjoyed a tremendous run of form for the England cricket team. He is going to surpass the feats of another local hero Michael Vaughan. Joe is a dab hand at bowling the occassional over but it is as a start batsman in all forms of cricket that he excels.

Jamie Vardy may be playing his football this season for Leicester City in some other county, but he is a Hillsborough lad. This seasons goal scoring feats have helped his team no-end.

Kell Brook born in Shirecliffe is the current IBF welterweight champion ranked number one in the world of boxing at welterweight. He is a knockout as 70% of his opponents know to their cost. Let us hope he unifies the division as a Sheffield world champion.

Jessica Ennis-Hill is a legend in her life time having gone to the same  school as other local sport stars. Here olympian and world records deserve a page to herself.

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Gordon Banks, Kyle Walker, Prince Naseem Hamed, Gary Cahill, Roger Taylor, Justin Wilson and the referee Uriah Rennie all hale from this great city. Let us know who we have missed from the list.

Jessica Ennis- Hill a Yorkshire Olympic Star

Jessica Ennis-Hill was the face of the 2012 Games in London and competed in Beijing 2008. What about Rio 2016. Jessica sat out for a period whilst she gave birth to her son Reggie before returning to international competition in 2015. She has won her second world title but is currently recovering from an achilles injury.

Good luck with the Brazilians, Russians, drug cheats and politicians – we know sporting opponents people don’t faze you.

The Sheffield born and trained Heptathlete Jessica Ennis is our own World Champion in the seven event Heptathlon.

At the Olympics in 2012 she was hoping to be able to perform in the 200 metres hurdles as well as the Heptathlon. To be able to do this the timetabling would need to leave space for her to recover from her exertions in the first event.

Become a fan of Jessica’s on her website

Last weekend May 23 2010 Jessica ‘was in good form at Loughborough, a week before her scheduled attempt to break Denise Lewis’s British heptathlon record’ according to the Guardian.
Continue reading Jessica Ennis- Hill a Yorkshire Olympic Star

Yorkshire Archery – Scorton Silver Arrow

Sorry You must be over 21
‘Sorry you need to be over 21’

Archery with a silver arrow dates back to a contest in the sixteenth century.
Ever-since It has been an annual event in the North Yorkshire village of Scorton or other Yorkshire location. The original arrow is now on display at the Royal Armouries museum in Leeds.

    • The morning session firing arrows at a target 100 yards away is tough but it gets harder in the afternoon after imbibing copious quantities of lunchtime booze to nullify the effect of the Captain’s lunch and AGM.
    • The Society of Archers was formed at the first meeting in 1673
    • It is one of the few sporting fixtures where the competitor is on his own honour to mark his own score card.
    • Competitors are able to enjoy and share a drink on the field of play (health and safety eat your heart out)
    • The winner is appointed Captain of the Arrow and they must organise the event next year.
    • The competition is the oldest recorded sporting event still running although the East riding village of Kiplingcotes and the Kiplingcotes Derby is widely accepted to be the oldest annual horse race in the English sporting calendar. It reputedly began in 1519
    • Wheelchair events and serious archery competition are now also a part of what is a grand old traditional Yorkshire event.

The Society of Archers

The Society of Archers was formed at the first meeting of the  Silver Arrow Competition in 1673 for the
purpose of maintaining Target Archery. This skill  was largely in decline following the English Civil War.
The purpose of the Yorkshire Archery Association is to promote and support the sport of archery in Yorkshire.
The YAA is the county affiliation body for clubs in Yorkshire.
Archery Clubs in Yorkshire

Geoff Boycott in Black or White

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It was always Black or White for Geoffrey Boycott. Whether batting or commentating, his uncompromising attitude was one of his greatest attributes and it is relevant that his autobiography is cased in a Black and White photograph.

Boycott Quotes

  • ‘He’s a typical Yorkshireman, says what he thinks, and his book reflects that.’
  • ‘He puts himself over as one of the greatest batsmen of all time.’
  • ‘Misguided, mishandled, criticised and crucified – and only because he’s different,’ Brian Clough
  • On facing the England ‘pace’ attack – ‘I’d like to paint my face black and go in for the West Indies against our bloody attack.
  • I think England will win a Test. My concern is Australia will probably win the others.
  • To stay in, you’ve got to not get out.’ Geoff Boycott

See also Fiery Fred Trueman Fantastic Raconteur

Fiery Fred Trueman Fantastic Raconteur

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Fred Trueman’s last recording talks about cricket and life in the Dales in his own unique style on this Fathers Day CD.

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For the first time in a longtime Yorkshire cricket club seem to be ‘framin’ and it would have been interesting to know what Fred would have made of our current exploits.
20 Twenty cricket was played in the local evening leagues for decades, long before it became a money raising venture, and I think FST’s comments about this subject would have been slightly on the caustic side.

My favourite Fred story was, as you may expect, dragged out as a long tale but I will edit it drastically and hope he isn’t able to breath fire down on me.
The scene was an Ashes test with England fielding .. ‘and I went back to my mark and hurtled into the wicket, a rap on the pads, Howzat? One for none. I went back to my mark and hurtled into the wicket and the bails were off, two for none. Then in came the great Sir Don Bradman. I went back to my mark and hurtled into the wicket, the ball was in the air, a fantastic catch on the long on boundary, three for three hundred and seventy six.
Told by a bowler with a stammer you were amused long before the punchline.

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Horse Racing in Yorkshire

Horse race

There is a Yorkshire racecourse to suit all tastes for a day visit or evening out! Some key links are listed below to find dates and times of key events.
Where there’s muck there’s brass but it might be horse muck and horse brasses so don’t bet the farm.


Horse racing

York Special Mention
The celebration of fifty years of the John Smith’s Cup on 10th 11th July 2009 was an event not to be missed. The informal party highlight of the year combines betting excitement and summer fun. Ever since it was first run in 1960, the John Smith’s Cup has had a story to tell.
On 15-16 June 2012 enjoy top class racing whilst raising money for charity. Since 1971 this charity event has now raised over £5,000,000. The John Smith Cup meeting is on 13-14 July this year
The support of the Tadcaster brewer makes this the longest running sponsorship on the flat anywhere in the world and the golden jubilee celebrations promise to be fun. A range of special cask ales will be brought in specially to toast the occasion. Other special events will be announced here as the big day approaches.

Photo credits

Horse race by Boston Public Library CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Horse racing by Paolo Camera CC BY 2.0