Proceedings are conducted by the Master of Ceremonies, resplendent in white smock coat and top hat. Spectators are ushered to the flanks of the slope and urged to keep alert - the inattentive can fall victim to a rogue cheese. Contestants sit nervously on the brink of the hill, primed with warm cider. The countdown begins. ' One to be ready, two to be steady, three to prepare' (the cheese is launched) ' . . . and four to be off'. After a few yards, the cheese parts company with the hillside, accelerating unpredictably. Protected in a wooden casing, it weathers the descent better than some competitors. Swathes of netting and strategically placed straw bales mark the finish.
There are normally four races (one for women) open to all. The winners get the Double Gloucester. But be wary before hurtling cheese-wards. Last year's casualties included two neck injuries and a couple of fractures.
Racing starts 6pm 30 May, Cooper's Hill, Brockworth, Gloucester.Reuse content