Visit South Oxfordshire in March and enter the 2011 Poohsticks World Championships! Poohsticks is a game first mentioned in the Winnie the Pooh book ‘The House at Pooh Corner’.
This quirky but strangely-addictive sport involves players dropping sticks into the upstream side of a bridge, with the player whose stick first appears on the downstream side claiming victory.
Days Lock, just north east of the beautiful village of Little Wittenham, in the heart of Midsomer Murders’ territory, is the place where Poohsticks enthusiasts take their shot at world championship glory each year.
Yet in 2008 it seemed likely that the event would end when the president of the Rotary Club, which organises the big day, said: “There is a lot of heavy work staging it. Some of our members are over 70 and it is just getting too much.”
But the fact that the event can attract as many as 1,500 visitors, from places as far afield as Japan and Kenya, to a village with a population of 87, has ensured that the show must go on.
Many adults who make the annual pilgrimage believe that a high element of skill and training is involved in the game and take great care about where they drop their stick.
Others, like Megan McLaughlin, who triumphed in 1998 as a four-year-old, just drop their stick and hope for the best!
The World Pooh Sticks Championships is on March 27th 2011, Days Lock, Little Wittenham.