There is the Venice Film Festival, Glyndbourne, Ascot, and then there is the Monmouth Raft Race where ingenious, sometimes bizzare homemade rafts race each other along a six and a half mile stretch of the River Wye to Whitebrook. It’s necessarily a timed race because there is no starting line wide enough to accommodate almost a hundred rafts.
Like most things Monmouth does – like the largest free musical festive in Europe – it’s homespun, organised by volunteers and the community at large.
Below is a selection of some of my favourite rafts, one of which I thought would be a winner but wasn’t, one of which capsized and fell apart, its crew attempting to complete the six miles on individual barrels.
The river, as calm as the channel on D Day, placidly awaiting it's fate.
And more Vikings
These guys mean business
These two also, perhaps
Sedate, stylish, but will it float?
Did you doubt it? No doubt they'll be serving tea and cucumber sandwiches
beneath the canopy
Ah, Mr President
Pursued by irate Mexicans
Whitebrook is about to be pillaged.
And now we have tragedy in slow motion.
No way can they keep this craft stable.
And then it collapses completely
And here we see the indomitable human spirit - a barrel and paddle, we'll get there.