The founding National Association of Morris and Sword Dance Clubs

The 40th Saddleworth Rushcart - hosted meeting of Morris Ring sides

The 40th Saddleworth Rushcart - hosted meeting of Morris Ring sides

Event date: 
Friday, August 22, 2014 - 18:00 to Sunday, August 24, 2014 - 18:00

Saddleworth Rushcart in 2014 falls on the Bank Holiday weekend of Friday 22nd August to Sunday 24th August.
Eddie Worrall writes:

As you may know, 2014 is our 40th birthday as a side and also the 40th Saddleworth Rushcart, since we revived the local tradition after a c.50 year break.  We are delighted to be sharing our celebrations with the Morris Ring in its 80th year.

For the first time ever, the weekend will operate as a hosted meeting of Morris Ring Clubs but will still follow our tried and trusted format of the last 39 years.  There will be NO feast, NO speeches, NO massed dancing, NO p.a. systems, NO bus tours.  If you want all these things, this may not be the meeting for you….

There will however, be the usual enthusiastic & Morris savvy audiences in the local Saddleworth villages waiting for you to turn up and dance and a weekend spent in the beautiful Pennine countryside.  The beer’s pretty cheap as well.

The Friday evening is an informal beer, music & song session in the pubs of Uppermill. The ‘Cart is then pulled around the villages of Saddleworth on the Saturday with dance spots throughout the day.  On Sunday morning the Rushcart is pulled up the hill to St. Chad’s Church in Uppermill for the Rushcart service.  This is the culmination of the Rushcart procession, where rushes are ceremonially spread on the Church floor as has been the custom in Saddleworth for centuries past.  Throughout the Sunday afternoon all sides will dance and competitions such as Gurning, Wrestling, Clog Stepping & Worst Singer, will be held.

As in previous years, both indoor and outdoor camping will be available at a minimal cost over the weekend (approx £5 per man/tent pitch at time of going to press).  No other cost is charged by us, all we ask is that you buy your own food & drink over the weekend. A Morris weekend where you are in charge of how much you spend!

If your side would like to attend, or you would like to attend as reps, please get in touch ASAP.  We would also like to hear from sides who would like to attend as day men for the Saturday/Sunday (or both if you are local?!).  For the sake of clarity, female musicians are welcome at Rushcart.

We particularly would like to hear from sides who dance NorthWest as a main or second tradition.  If you are secretly practicing a Colne, an Ashton or a Royton, this is your chance to put that hard work to good use!

Our accommodation for visiting sides is limited, Saddleworth is after all a fairly small place.  However, there are various options locally, including camping/caravan sites, B & B’s, Hotels etc. details of which will be supplied to sides who are booked in to attend. <information sheet>

From its humble beginnings in 1975 it has grown to the annual spectacle that it is today. With each year that passes the Rushcart gets bigger and better but with that it becomes more precious to us. It becomes more important to keep it going and we have to find ways of protecting it, to preserve it for years to come.

One avenue to explore is to try and make it safer for all involved. Whilst we have had no major incidents in recent times we have had a few close shaves. Had they turned out to be more serious, they could have caused questions to be asked about the future of the ‘cart.

The Saddleworth Rushcart is built with moorland rushes, and is a solid construction. It stands approximately 14 feet high and weighs about two tons (we don’t actually know how much it weighs but you wouldn’t want it to roll over your foot!). The cart itself has a single axle and relies on the three brave lads on the shafts to balance it. It has no brakes, no suspension and when fully manned has the turning circle of a super tanker.

We have put together a few tips to try to anticipate and avoid problems. <Hints and Tips>

Please e-mail edworrall [at] gmail [dot] com (subject: Rushcart%202104) (Eddie Worral) directly with any enquiries.

Eddie Worrall
Rushcart Secretary
Saddleworth MM