Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Year's Day Bridge Jump

Mappleton New Year’s Day Bridge-Jumper

The Mappleton New Year’s Day Bridge-Jump & Raft-Race is not exactly a centuries-old tradition – it was only dreamed up just under thirty years ago, after a drunken session by some local lads in the pub…  But, it’s turned into one of the area’s big Eccentric Events, and this year’s activities were as daft as ever!

Two Santas make their way
to the finish line
The competitors sail a raft a few hundred yards downstream on the River Dove to Okeover Bridge, run up on to the bridge itself, leap down into the water, swim to the bank, and then sprint across the field to the local pub, the Okeover Arms. Fastest team there wins.
All fairly straightforward – apart from a river now surging with the recent rains, a thirty-foot drop into very cold water, and a run across the muddiest field ever. Just what you need after a NYEve party the night before!
But the British like a bit of daftness, and there were the maximum entries possible this year.

It’s a lovely, very local event with most of the population of the surrounding villages turning up to cheer on the various Santas, spacemen, super-heroes etc, who are all in costume to add to the festive nature.

All passed very safely, thank Goodness; though it’s possible that this year’s event may be the last, as the present organisers say they can no longer commit to all the work and preparations needed. Which would be a shame.

Incidentally, this is a sort of cross-border activity - most of the race is in Staffordshire, but crosses into Derbyshire for the finish. None of the promotion mentioned that it's a race across two counties, but I'm sure some wit will mention it one day.

Link: Mappleton Bridge-Jump

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