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Knaresborough pubs get ready for 53-year-old Boxing Day tradition

Knaresborough pubs get ready for 53-year-old Boxing Day tradition

Published at 6:51am 24th December 2019.

Main Image: A picture of a newspaper cutting from the 1985 competition 

Two Knaresborough pubs are gearing up for a quirky tradition this Christmas. 

  • Since 1966 two pubs have competed in a Boxing day Tug of War 
  • The Half Moon Pub and Mother Shipton's Pub take part
  • Men and women's teams pull a rope over the River Nidd 
  • People can watch the competition from 12pm 

For over 50 years The Half Moon and Mother Shipton's pubs have competed in a Boxing Day tug of war over the River Nidd. 

Both men and women's teams take part in the tradition which can be traced back to 1966. 

Knaresborough boxing day tug of war trophies
The trophies the teams will compete for

Crowds gather at the River Nidd, near Low Bridge, from 12 noon on Boxing Day to watch the competition. 

It's happened every year since 1966 apart from in 2015 when the river levels were dangerously high. 

Whilst no one can really pinpoint how the competition started, it's something every landlord has embraced. 

Current landlord of The Half moon Pub, Max Harrison said: 

"I think it came about as one of those pub challenges and someone dreamed it up as a good idea.

"A tug of war is not a particularly new thing, but across the river make it a bit more precarious. 

"So I suppose it's a challenge that's stuck.

"We have a bar outside on both pubs and there's plenty of beer and mulled wine flowing. 

"It's a great family atmosphere, it's good fun." 

Boxing Day Tug of War 1999
This newspaper cutting is from 1999

Whilst it's a fun challenge, both pubs certainly take it seriously. 

Max added: 

"No one likes to lose but we like to play fair.

"We have a good pub team rather than experts in tug of war. So we try and keep it what it should be, which is pub regulars and a community feel.

"So all the pullers are from the local area and all their families come and support them. So it's a great bit of family fun."