Cheese rolling: Dairy-loving daredevils descend on Cooper's Hill in Gloucestershire for annual race

Dairy-loving daredevils from around the world have descended on Cooper's Hill in Gloucestershire for the annual cheese-rolling race.

Competitors ran, slid and tumbled down the near-vertical incline in an effort to catch up with a 7lb wheel of Double Gloucester - a semi-hard cheese renowned for its strong and savoury flavour.

The rough-and-ready race is notoriously dangerous with bumps and bruises almost guaranteed for the many reckless cheese-chasers who tend to fall down the hill rather than run.

The emergency services did not attend this year's event but said they would respond to callouts.

Few competitors manage to stay on their feet all the way down the 200-yard (180-metre) hill in Brockworth in the southwest of England.

The race begins when the so-called "Master of Cheese" rolls a Double Gloucester down the hill.

The competitors then follow, with the first one to make it to the bottom getting to keep the cheese.

This year's hill was especially slippery and muddy after recent rain. Members of a local rugby club lined up at the bottom to catch the tumbling competitors.

Three men's downhill races and one women's downhill race took place between midday and 1:30pm.

Winners of the three men's races included local man Josh Shepherd as well as competitors from Germany and Australia.

American YouTuber IShowSpeed was among those who took part in one of the men's races - and paid a visit to the medical tent after suffering bruising on his way down the hill.

Abby Lampe from North Carolina in the US won the women's race by rolling down the hill at speed that left the rest of the field far behind.

"You just have to roll," said Ms Lampe, a graduate of North Carolina State University, who also won in 2022.

She added: "There's a little bit of pain, but it's just going to be temporary."

Dozens of children and adults also competed in safer and slower, but no less gruelling, uphill versions of the race, which are traditionally held on a late-May national holiday.

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The annual cheese-rolling event in Gloucestershire is believed to have been taking place for centuries, though its exact origin is unknown.

The first written evidence of the event was found in a message that was sent to the Gloucester Town Crier in 1826.

However, it is said to have been an old tradition even back then.

Some believe it started as a way of claiming grazing rights on the ground around Cooper's Hill - while others think it could have been a fertility ritual.

Around 20 miles away from Cooper's Hill on Monday, competitors in the town of Tetbury carried sacks of wool weighing up to 60 pounds (27kg) over a 240-yard (220-metre) course up and down steep Gumstool Hill.

The Tetbury Woolsack Races have been held since 1972, drawing on a local tradition dating back to the 17th century in the historic wool-trading town.