Shell-shocked spectators are once again set for a smashing summer’s day out this June when Lincolnshire stages what must be one of the world’s quirkiest events.
Teams from across the globe will head to the normally quiet rural village of Swaton, in the south of the county, to battle it out to become… World Egg Throwing champs.
While Sport England may have turned down a bid to make it an official sport, the art of egg throwing is still taken seriously in Lincolnshire.
For the 14th year a summer village show will host the unusual event, which usually attracts competitors from far and wide including, previously, from The Netherlands, Germany and even Australia and New Zealand.
Featuring everything from long distance throwing (and catching) of an unbroken egg to Russian Egg Roulette, and even an egg throwing relay, the World Championships is part of Swaton Vintage Day, which this year falls on Sunday 25 June 2023.
As well as launching a whole host of egg-based puns, the contest also draws hundreds of competitors and cheering spectators to this messy and eccentric event – which claims a history stretching back over 700 years.
While modern competitive egg throwing only began in 2005 after the formation of the Lincolnshire-based World Egg Throwing Federation, the tradition dates to 1322.
It is said that the Abbot was the only person in the village to own chickens and he ensured attendance at church by providing one egg for each attendee. But when the river flooded, preventing people getting to church, the monks threw eggs to those waiting. From these humble beginnings, the sport of egg throwing was born.
These days competitors can test their skills in several categories over the day, including the popular World Russian Egg Roulette Championship… a trial of nerves involving choosing between six eggs and smashing them on your own forehead, with the aim of avoiding the raw one.
The cracking line-up also includes the World Egg Trebuchet Challenge, using a type of catapult that was used in medieval sieges, in a gravity-powered battle of wills, with close quarter rounds, followed by a long distance knock out.
And for egg-stra mess, the World Target Throwing with Accuracy Challenge – the only pay to enter game on the day – offers a chance for contestants to prove their target hitting abilities, at £2 for 3 eggs.
Entry to the 28th Swaton Vintage Day, which raises money for local, national and international good causes, costs £5 adults, £3 school age children and £12 family ticket, with under-fives free.
For more details about Swaton Vintage Day, which includes the Egg Throwing Championships, visit http://swatonvintageday.com.
For more details about visiting Lincolnshire, see www.visitlincolnshire.com.
Photo: Gail Deptford