SLIDESHOW: Hood, sweat and beers - Haxey Hood 2013

THE Haxey Hood enjoyed one of its biggest turnouts in years as folk from across the country descended on the Isle.

Thousands turned out for the 653rd hood, including people from as far away as Bristol and Hampshire, with the traditional mud, sweat and plenty of beer keeping people entertained throughout the day, with no trouble.

The Fool Dale Smith holds the hood high whilst being smoked. Picture: Andrew Roe

The Fool Dale Smith holds the hood high whilst being smoked. Picture: Andrew Roe

Families were out in force and revellers ranged in age from tots to great-grandparents.

Teens and young men swarmed the field, then roared and ran for the sway once the hood was thrown.

It took just under three hours for the hood to be claimed by Haxey’s King’s Arms, which last won it in 2010.

Landlady Kerry Thompson, 33, who grew up in Haxey, has run the pub for just 13 months.

She said: “It was very emotional for me as an Isle girl.

“When the hood arrived I’d been warned it was nearby and had to be ready. Five men lifted me to reach it.

“It was a frantic, amazing day. It’s great fun but it matters to people, make no mistake. One of the boggins - a regular here - was crying his heart out when we got the hood.

“I had to pull as much beer as I could for boggins and regulars, then tradition says its free drinks for the sway who bring the hood in. My brewery, The Pub People, gave me an allowance. The atmosphere was incredible. I’ve not known a hood like this for some time.”

She added: “I want to thank everyone for a fantastic year. The camaraderie in this village is brilliant.”

In true Hood style, ‘Fool’ Dale Smith, opened the event at St Nicholas’ Church after the traditional ‘smoking’.

Surrounded by youngsters and red-clad boggins who keep the peace, he sped off to the field with Phil Coggan, Lord of the Hood for the 24th year, and Chief Boggin Ian Dawes, where 12 sack hoods were released for kids to chase and claim £2 rewards.

The Haxey Hood dates from the 14th century when Lady de Mowbray lost her silk hood in the wind, while out riding. A farm worker caught it but gave it to another to return, after which the lady branded the finder a fool and the returner a lord. She bestowed land for an annual re-enactment of the chase, and the hood was born.