Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling Association

Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling has always been part of the rural scene.


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There is no rule or law that forbids urban people to compete in Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling, but there is no doubt that the traditional wrestling is and has always been a part of the rural scene.
My father told me of wrestling in a Northumbrian hayfield after dinner before the afternoon's work began in 1911. When I first came to this area people still talked of the wrestling sessions on the village greens when those taking part threw their hats into the ring. Shepherds' Meets, when hill sheep were sorted in the Autumn, invariably ended in wrestling action.
A quick look at the CWWA wrestling programme each year indicates how much wrestling depends on the agricultural shows. They provide the wrestling rings and the prize-money throughout the season in a prolonged symbiotic link with our sport.
Prince Charles unveiled a plaque at Keswick's Theatre by the Lake this week to celebrate the World Heritage status gained by the Lake District. In the detailed application document which reviewed the area, valley by valley, a common thread was the link with traditional sports and wrestling in particular.

Man-mountain, Jamie Lightfoot, deals with Phil Potts at last year’s Field DayAnd each year wrestling figures prominently at the Young Farmers' Club Field Days, North and South. Because the YFC insists on accrediting each wrestler with proof of wrestling participation, Carlisle Wrestling Club has been inundated with young people topping up their knowledge of wrestling. A year or two back the club coaches were virtually over-whelmed but a booking system has given more control. This week fifteen youngsters and six adults from the clubs at Brampton, Aspatria, and Carlisle were extras at the weekly training session.

The Carlisle coaches have had to insist that only those actually competing should book in for training sessions. At the Field Day there are four wrestling categories, two male and two female. Not unexpectedly, trained wrestlers are often to the fore, but of course farmers are usually well muscled and fit, even in the days of air-conditioned tractors.

Recently Jamie Lightfoot of Caldbeck turned up at the Wrestling Club to blow away the cobwebs. He is only slightly less massive than High Pike and won the event last year. Big lads like Jack Ewart and Thomas Gibson took him through his paces, and woke up nice and stiff the next day.

One young farmer/wrestler who will not be competing this year is Thomas Wales, who was attacked by a bull a few weeks ago and came off worst.

The Field Day takes place near Carlisle Airport on 26th May

(Written by Roger Robson ..... ©All Photographs on this site are the copyright of Roger Robson, Jill Robson, Julian Richardson, Linda Scott or Webmaster. Unauthorised usage is forbidden {2017} ©)

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