A capital day out as Cumberland wrestlers hit the streets of London27 June 2016
London is unshockable. So when two young women and a nine year old girl, dressed in white long-johns and red shorts started wrestling on the lawn opposite Big Ben this June, the reaction was curiosity rather than surprise.
The wrestlers were Tracy, Connie and Rosie Hodgson from Dent who gamely agreed to the capital day out to promote Ambleside Sports, the new women’s world championship in Cumberland wrestling which will be staged there in July.
Traditions such as these are part of Cumbria’s heritage and have a strong association with hill farming culture. Their survival through agricultural shows, shepherds’ meets and traditional sports, are a crucial part of the case for World Heritage status.
The sisters were filmed along the way – at Marble Arch, in Hyde Park, on the plinth of the Victoria Monument at Buckingham Palace – by Ambleside’s Steve Ashworth of Lake District Images who spends the rest of his time photographing sportspeople in mountain environments.
The girls were true good sports, and performed for video, and posed for still shots, wherever and whenever Steve asked. “Can you just stand in front of that London bus for a minute?” “Could you just throw your sister to the ground?” World Heritage United by Herdy leaflets and badges were given to passing tourists, and school parties who were in London from all over Britain, and Connie was interviewed on Lakeland Radio live outside Buckingham Palace.
The Ambleside Sports team now has a fantastic portfolio of photos, Londoners now have some notion of what happens in Cumbria in the summer time, and the profile of women’s traditional wrestling has been raised in a most dynamic way.
The family travelled down with mum Wendy and dad Trevor (a former wrestling world champ himself, who had never been to London before) as guests of Virgin Trains. They not only provided the tickets, but also provided a very special train for them to travel on from Oxenholme, the iconic “Cumbrian Spirit” pendolino which was named in March to celebrate the spirit of the Cumbrian people following the floods.
Photos are all by Steve Ashworth, Lake District Images
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