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   xoxoxoBruce  Friday Jan 5 10:24 PM

Jan 6th, 2018: Scots Pull it on New Years

Stromness, a town in Scotland’s Orkney Islands revived a local tradition that hadn’t been observed for 80 years.
The team from the northside(Northenders) against the team from the southside(Soothenders) try pull a 12 foot long,
880 pound log, to their end of the designated space. Think tug of war.

According to the BBC, in the early days of the contest the town’s youth were tasked with obtaining a suitable tree from which to make the yule log. “It tended to be that boys and young men of the town used to cut down a tree in somebody’s garden,” says Groundwater. Putting “the youth” up to any task that requires stealing from private property is rarely a good idea, and sure enough residents eventually began tiring of the tradition. It became such an issue that people were said to be sleeping out with their trees to prevent them from being taken. The town officially outlawed cutting down trees for the yule log in 1933, Groundwater says. “After that, people used to just give the boys a log to play the game with,” she says. “But because that meant that kind of the most exciting part of the game for those boys had gone, they didn’t want to do it anymore.” With that well-deserved wet blanket, the contest quickly lost steam and was last known to have taken place in 1937.

The idea to revive the yule log pull came from the head of the Orkney Islands Council, who is originally from Stromness. “I thought it was kind of a crazy idea to be honest. But we just ran with it and we got a county committee together to help us,” says Groundwater. Thanks to a government grant from the Winter Festivals Fund, which gives monetary support to communities celebrating Scottish holidays, the yule log pull was a go. To comply with the grant, the event was moved from the traditional Christmas Eve to Hogmanay, but it was all the better. “A lot of people come home to Orkney between Christmas and New Year, so it meant that we were kind of capturing a great crowd that way,” says Groundwater.

All said, the competition took only about seven minutes. “We either thought, it’ll take ten minutes or it’ll take two hours. And when it was finished it was less than 10 minutes,” says Groundwater. Since the actual competition had been so short, it was suggested that they try for best of three, but Groundwater says that the assembled pullers were so exhausted by the one attempt, they all balked at the suggestion.
Groundwater gives me a divine rod.


Glinda  Friday Jan 5 10:36 PM

Mark and Brian's Annual Yule Log Bit

newtimer  Friday Jan 5 10:56 PM

Notice, in the top photo, the fellow in front, wearing the turquoise jacket and black cap. In the second photo, the same gentleman is just standing there watching others do the work.
Wonder if his teammates were mad that he bailed out on them.

xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Jan 6 01:39 AM

The top and second pictures are opposite teams.

newtimer  Saturday Jan 6 08:03 PM

"The top and second pictures are opposite teams."
Nay, laddie. Look at:
- the other teammates pulling the rope. They're the same;
- the brown house with the green Halloween decoration in the window.

sexobon  Saturday Jan 6 10:26 PM

Maybe the first guy on the rope fouled out. In conventional tug of war there are rules like the rope must stay underarm and the elbow can't go below the knee.

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