Monday, 30 July 2012
i read a comment, and am sent on an Olympian trail
I was very fortunate to have picked up Nikki-ann's comment just before I headed off to some more meetings in the distant town with a mysterious road system.
Nikki-ann had commented that if I was back there I should look out for a few other places.
Now, to be honest, I was heading back towards a motorway when I spotted the sign to Much Wenlock. "Ahah!" I thought, "that's one of the places Nikki-ann mentioned."
So I followed the signs.
Actually I didn't have a clue if it was nearby or a few country miles away. Then my sat-nav pinged up 'Much Wenlock Lane' and another place called Little Wenlock showed up on the map.
It was getting sunnier and also around lunch-time, after meetings that had started at eight o'clock, so an opportunity to flâneur.
I kept driving and found the delightful little town, which also, to my even greater delight, was the place where the modern Olympics is claimed to have originated!
Local resident Dr William Penny Brookes was a great believer in physical education and in 1850 set up the Wenlock Olympian Games. This led, via the Shropshire Games to the the National Olympian Games.
It turns out that Dr Brookes and Baron Pierre de Coubertin met several times at the Raven Hotel to talk about plans for what we now think of as the Modern Olympics and Dr Brookes is credited as a founding father of the Games.
It also turns out that there's a regular Wenlock Olympian Games which is a four-day event during the second weekend in July and a feast takes place at the Raven to celebrate. The Raven also has some display items from the Brooks and de Coubertin correspondence.
And only then did it click with me that the Olympic mascot called Wenlock is named after this founding town.
A pretty cool diversion for me on may way back home and entirely unplanned. Thank you, Nikki-ann, for this great suggestion.