Uppies and Downies



Workington in West Cumbria, England, is home to a game that is played every Easter over 3 days. It is called Uppies and Downies, and it has been played in this town since medieval times. The aim is to get a small ball to the capstan on harbour (if you’re a Downie) or gate of Curwen hall (if you’re an Uppie), a distance of roughly 3km.

This game can attract thousands of participants and there are essentially no rules. The local police monitor the game, help people who get hurt, and to try and prevent damage to property. It starts off on a small bridge on the Cloffocks, just behind the town hall, where a local kid throws the ball into the air then quickley runs away.







This goes on for several hours from 6pm until a winner is decided each night. The game regularly lasts until the early hours of the morning. Three balls are hand made each year, one for each day, and the date is stamped on it. Once you get the ball to your sides “goal” you have to “hail” it by throwing it up into the air three times.

If this sounds insane, it is. You can watch the below short documentary on the game to get a better sense of how this epic competition is played.

Uppies & Downies from Tim Brunsden on Vimeo.