Outside Edge: Slippery slope to sheer lunacy

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The Independent Online

More 'elf and safety lunacy in the snow: a teacher at Cefu Hengoed School in Swansea has been sacked for showing his pupils how to go sledging.

Richard Tremelling, head of technology, brought the sledge into school to demonstrate its design features and after testing it on two slopes himself, he allowed two 15-year-old boys to try it out. But according to a disciplinary hearing he "failed to carry out appropriate risk assessments and failed to provide a written risk assessment. He didn't ensure pupils were wearing protective headgear".

Edge wonders what the General Teaching Council for Wales would have made of Andrew McLean, who is believed to be the first person to ski down an iceberg. The 48-year-old from Utah performed the stunt in the Antarctic.

"I was skiing conservatively compared to normal," he said. "I could even feel the iceberg rocking a little as the waves crashed against the side, which is definitely something you don't get on a mountain."

Yes, the two terrains are poles apart.


Top speed in miles per hour of the Lotus Evora donated to West Midlands police by the car company to help them deter criminals. The "supercar" will patrol the M6 motorway and the cops hope to educate young drivers about the perils of speeding. Not much need if you're stuck in a huge traffic jam.

Nagging doubt over horse trading

A 70-year-old woman has become embroiled in a bizarre equine kidnapping case in Breaston, Derbyshire. Belgian stable-owners are suing Joan Whetter, claiming that three prize horses which were stolen from them in 2008 have turned up in her stables. One of Britain's most promising show-jumpers, Laura Newman, was thought to be implicated in the theft but no longer involved in the action, even though a fourth missing horse covered by the lawsuit has since been returned by Newman.

Brazilian footballer Somalia, a midfielder at Botafogo, should have watched his step. He claimed he had been kidnapped at 7am – and had his watch stolen – in order to avoid a fine for arriving late for a training session. Police viewed CCTV footage of his apartment block and saw guests leaving his house at 4am, then Somalia leaving at 9am with the watch on his wrist. He may soon be doing time of a different sort – six months in jail.

Good week

Jonny Wilkinson, the Toulon fly-half, was named as the personality of the year in the south of France by La Provence newspaper, gaining 78 per cent of the vote ahead of folk pop singer Christophe Maé...

Chris Price, the former Aston Villa full-back, was rescued by coastguards in Brisbane after being swept out to sea while playing football with his daughter on the beach...

Alastair Cook, England's prolific opening batsman, was awarded the Freedom of the City of London for his Ashes-winning exploits.

Bad week

Seattle Seahawks, the NFL team, have discovered that the stadium vendor First & Goal has been selling 20oz beers for the same price as 16oz brews at Qwest Field because the containers are the same size...

Bullfighting fans in Spain will not be able to watch live fights before the 10pm watershed on the state broadcaster TVE because they contravene its code of conduct... Ray Dineen had his ball stolen by a crow at Eaton golf club in Norwich, then dropped another to replace it and saw the bird steal that one too.

You never know what's around corner

We've all had a funny turn from time to time but few can compare with the sense of disorientation experienced by Natsuki Terada as the Japanese runner reached the closing stages of the Tokyo-Hakone relay marathon.

He was leading the two-day, 217km race with just 200m to go but suddenly elected to take a right turn when the finish line was straight in front of him. He managed to get back on track and came 10th, the final qualifying place for next year's race, but he should probably have kept on running so he didn't have to hear what his Kokugakuin University team-mates thought of him.

A more impressive feat of endurance was performed by three grey seal pups who swam 350 miles from the Farne Islands in Northumbria to the coast of Holland. It's thought they were swept out to sea by strong tides and just kept going.

At least they didn't turn right and end up in Belgium.