Bottle Inn, Marshwood

Bottle Inn
Home of the World Famous Nettle Eating Championship
Can you imagine eating a nettle? How about eating as many as you can eat over a period of an hour for the grand prize of £100. Its the opening ceremony for the start of a beer festival that starts at the Bottle Inn every year. Now I may be competitive...but I would not take part in this if the prize were a heck of a lot more. End of! (Watch out for me in the crowd though as I think its a great spectator sport Hee Hee)

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A homely 16th century thatched country pub with low beams, cob walls, a log fire in the inglenook fireplace and a large beer garden. As a free house they keep a well kept range of changing ales and real ciders. They have pub games, a skittle alley and colouring books for the children. Dog and horse friendly being a ideal stop off point for ramblers, riders and cyclist.

You will find 6 handpumps on the bar offering a great selection of real ales from across the south west and guest ales that are sourced from suppliers around the U.K., and they always keep at least five real ciders and one Perry on the bar.

However, this seemingly normal pub hosts the annual Nettle eating Championship. Why eat nettles?

Over the course of one hour on the Saturday before the 2002 summer solstice, Simon Sleigh, an organic vegetable farmer from the village of Hawkchurch in Devon, England, crammed 76 feet of stinging nettles down his ravenous maw. The notion of ingesting nettles in some form isn’t odd, given the ubiquity and touted health benefits of teas, infusions, and even beers made from the weed. But eating the plant straight is another matter. Spiny stalks aside, each nettle leaf is tipped with thousands of microscopic hairs that, when brushed, detach as needles and inject a cocktail of irritating chemicals into whatever flesh tries to disturb them. The tongue and throat are abraded. The mouth turns black. And sometimes the nettles start to ferment in the gut with an audible gargling noise.

Sleigh wasn’t alone. He embarked on this test of endurance alongside several dozen others and a crowd of hundreds who’d turned up for one of southern England’s numerous bizarre spring traditions: Dorset’s own World Nettle Eating Championship, held at the Bottle Inn in the town of Marshwood.

The competition takes place every year just before the summer solstice, the keystone event of a larger beer festival at the thatched-roofed, 500-plus-year-old Bottle Inn pub. On Saturday evening, comers and takers from all over the world (and an attendant crush of local, national and international spectators and media) pay a varied pittance of a fee to consume 20-inch segments of nettle stalks and leaves. They have one hour to strip from the stalk as many stinging leaves as they can eat. No nettles from home, no bathroom breaks, no numbing agents. Only swigs of beer (or sometimes water) are allowed to lubricate the process. The prize is a small trophy and, usually, £100 ($166).

Crazy or QWerky? Crazy to take part and QWerky to watch. LOL

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Bottle Inn, Marshwood
Bottle Inn, Marshwood
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Bottle Inn, Marshwood
Bottle Inn, Marshwood
Portfolio
Bottle Inn, Marshwood
Bottle Inn, Marshwood
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Address Details:
England, South West
Phone: 01297 678484
Fax:
E-mail:
Website: www.bottle-inn.net/
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