THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE MAD OF THE SEASON
We may be a small kingdom but we have more eccentrics than most of the world put together. This is always put into sharp relief by the British summertime, whether it's Union Jack budgie smugglers, aristocratic weekend parties, or the English obsession with lying in a sun lounger whenever the sun so much as shows its face. But perhaps even more than any of these is the endless roster of eccentric events - often for charity - that take place in the warmer months across these isles.
Here we bring you the very best.
Round Table Birdman, July 30th, Ilfracombe
A cool £500 is up for grabs at this event for wannabe aviators. Locals and tourists alike flock here to attempt the birdman competition. The idea is competitors construct a make-shift aircraft around their body – wings and suchlike – and hurl themselves into the sea off the end of the pier in the hope to defy gravity. It’s one law that’s hard to break, but it’s a hoot to watch.
Naked Bike Ride, August 6th, Romford
Bicyclists, it's time to bare it all! For the first time, Romford – that well-known town in Essex – has organised a bare bums bike ride on August 6th. It’ll start at Bedfords Park at midday, before looping through the city centre. They’re even offering body painting before you climb aboard. Expect to see thighs, bums and tums as this most British of traditions begins. Just make sure you don’t point – it’s very rude. Perhaps they’ll be wearing scents inspired by our naked swims?
Bog Snorkelling Championships, August 28th, Llanwrtyd Wells
Forget about crystal seas for a minute and perhaps consider a Welsh bog for a second. No, don’t turn away – it's for charity! You’ll have to don a novelty hat, and jump flipper-first into an ancient bog for this snorkelling competition. Every year people come to Powys dressed in all manner of fancy dress and they must swim two lengths of the 60-yard trench without using “conventional swimming strokes”. This would even put a strain on Michael Phelps, but have charity in your hearts…
Dorset SEAFEAST Festival – 10th & 11th September, Weymouth Peninsula
They are fish with faces that even their mothers wouldn’t love. Monkfish, gurnard, and spider crab are the underrated gems of the British Isles – and this Dorset festival is going to celebrate them and all other ugly sea creatures. Taking place over the 10th and 11th September at Weymouth Peninsula, guests can find out all about the so-called “Outcasts”. So, come and be wowed over by their taste – if not their looks
World Stone Skimming Competition – 25th September, Easdale Island
Do you fancy yourself a good stone skimmer? Well, the worldwide skimming competition takes place on Easdale Island near Oban in Scotland in September. Having been cancelled for the last two years due to Covid restrictions, this year’s competition is set to be a busy affair . Now, for the rules: all stones must be of naturally formed Easdale slate, and no more than 3 inches in diameter, and each contestant will have 3 skims per session. Rock on.
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