Hallaton Bottle Kicking: Villages compete in bruising tradition

Published
image copyrightGetty Images
image captionResidents from Hallaton and Medbourne take part in the traditional bottle kicking contest every Easter

An age-old contest to take barrels across streams in Leicestershire took place as Easter temperature records tumbled across the UK.

The Hallaton Bottle Kicking game - claimed to be one of the country's oldest sports - attracted hundreds of people on Easter Monday.

The tradition sees villages Hallaton and neighbouring village Medbourne compete to move barrels across one of two streams.

Hallaton emerged victorious again, retaining the title they also won in 2018.

image copyrightJoe Giddens/PA
image captionWarrener John Morrison leads the hare pie parade before the game begins
image copyrightGetty Images
image captionA hare pie is blessed and eaten before every match
image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe bottles are in fact small barrels
image copyrightJoe Giddens/PA
image captionThe barrels can hold about a gallon of beer

The annual event is believed by some to have its roots in Roman times and serve as an inspiration for rugby.

It begins with the eating of a hare pie, which is blessed by a vicar and "scrambled" among the crowd, and then descends into a contest with few rules.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe bottle kicking game has few rules and is notoriously rowdy
image copyrightGetty Images
image captionSome believe the game served as an inspiration for rugby
image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe fierce contest has been raging for centuries

The villagers must move the bottles across streams one mile apart, and can use any means necessary to do so.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe bottle kicking game involves getting barrels of beer over one of two streams
image copyrightGetty Images
image captionInjuries are not uncommon in the no-holds-barred competition

This year's bottle kicking match took place on the hottest Easter Monday on record, with parts of the UK hitting as high as 25C (77F).

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionBloody faces are part and parcel of the bottle kicking tradition

Follow BBC East Midlands on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Send your story ideas to eastmidsnews@bbc.co.uk.

Follow BBC East Midlands on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Send your story ideas to eastmidsnews@bbc.co.uk.

Related Topics

More on this story