|Where:||Harpole, Northamptonshire at the Bull Inn on the High Street|
The Bull Inn at Harpole (or rather, a gazebo outside it under modern smoking legislation) is the setting for an annual smoking competition every Shrove Tuesday. The event is believed to date back at least 200 years and written records go back to the mid nineteenth century, with the origins said to be from using up tobacco before a period of abstinence during Lent, in a similar way to the using up of pancake ingredients. Competitors are provided with a small measure of tobacco and are given two minutes to get their pipe alight; they then attempt to keep their clay pipe burning for as long as possible without needing to relight it and the smoker whose baccy burns the longest wins.
Skilled smokers can keep going for more than an hour – the current all-time record is one hour and thirteen minutes but that was when it took place indoors and the pipes lasted longer in the warm atmosphere. The outdoor record is just short of an hour.
The Bull is a proper village pub and the people there are very welcoming – well worth going to this one as it was a really enjoyable night out!
In 2018 it will be on Tuesday 13th February.
Click here for more information and contact details for the event: http://www.harpole.org.uk/
and here for the Bull’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheBullHarpole?fref=ts
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