Friday, February 15, 2008


I promised details on this very special tradition that is included in my book FOLKLORE OF ESSEX which is going to be reprinted soon. This unique Essex tradition originated on New Year's Day in the early 1970s and has grown in popularity over the years. It started as a youthful dare made at the Queen's Head pub which overlooks Hythe Quay. The challenge to the young men was to serve a meal on the saltings of the river Blackwater while dressed in full evening dress. The challenge was accepted and carried out. The following year, from a bar on Maldon saltings, around 20 people made a mad dash across the river bed, drank a pint of beer and then returned. This was the beginning of the annual Maldon Mud Race that has turned into a huge sucessful, sponsored event raising thousands for local charities. It's not unusual to have 17,000 spectators - many from around the world who love watching th event that has now entered the annals of modern folklore. Here we see the winner of the female section, Claire Taylor from Billericay, Essex.