World Championship Hen Racing

We discovered this last year via “Rory & Paddy’s Great British Adventure”, another of these weird and wonderful competitions that happen all around the country, usually at the other end of the country you really can’t justify going to, only this one wasn’t. It was at the Barley Mow at Bonsall, hidden away behind Matlock Bath, so only twenty minutes away…

So on the first Saturday of August, the sleepy village of Bonsall is awoken as the whole world descends upon them, competitors from as far & wide as Bonsall to Bakewell, some foreigners even turned up from Nottinghamshire too. You can bring your own hen, or if you don’t have one, there’s a local “Henterprise” where you can rent a hen to race.

The competition attracts young & old, on the right is “R” from “The States”, a man of few words, and even stranger than the Nottinghamshire lot.

The premise is simple, it’s basically a 50 yard sprint, first chicken across the finish line wins. The world record for a well trained hen is 2.9 seconds!

And they’re off..

Of course you then hope they make a run for the finish line with their owners calling & baiting them

Here chicky chicky

Of course, these are chickens, so there’s as much chance they find the dirt around the start line interesting, in which case their is a three minute time limit, and nearest to the line wins.

Or sometimes they just revert to some good old 1600s hen fighting

but as this is a cruelty free sport (funds are raised towards Campaign For Free Range Chicken Farming) hens that fight are warned, then receive a yellow, followed by red card & removed from the course. The grey hen here picked  a few fights & was quickly dismissed.

Like any sport, there’s evidently some attempts at cheating, though some were easier to see through than others

Luckily all these were caught out & dismissed.

Some were evidently very relaxed with their hens

this one looked very relaxed & happy to sit without being restrained, or others took theirs along for a drink…

But all in a clucking fun day for everyone with lots of racing

Right, anyone for a vindaloo?

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