The Greasy Pole at Whitby Regatta is one of the weekends most looked forward to events by the members of the local community. Literally thousands of townsfolk and visitors descend on the lower harbour to watch the event which normally takes place late afternoon of a Regatta Saturday.
A long pole smothered in grease is extended from the towns fish pier adjacent to the rowing clubs. A flag is attached to the end of the pole and the winner of the event is the first person to be able to grab the flag from the pole and return to the fish pier with it in his or her hand.
Most contestants never get anywhere near the flag, and usually end up in the harbour. best techniques are a closely guarded secret with a diversity of methods often on display.
Some individuals choose a long run up and then slide along the pole whilst stood upright, attempting to grab the flag before they fall off the end. Others cling to the pole whilst laid down and try to shimmy towards the end.
It is rumoured that the greasy pole, which only recently returned to the Regatta Events, was banned for a while due to health and safety reasons (or the fun police as many have termed them), however Real Whitby can find no hard evidence of this, other than the usual Whitby Gossip.
Entrants for the event can register on the day at the fish pier prior to taking part. Health and safety gear Including helmets and lifejackets are available and a support boat is always available to help people out of the water.
We are unsure of when the first greasy pole was held at Whitby Regatta but we do know it dates back a very long way. If you do have any information of The Greasy Pole then we would love to hear from you using the comments section below, our official Facebook topic, or via our email address which you can find on our contacts page.
A Local Touch.
Stories had often been told of the fun of the Greasy pole back in the days when there was much less restriction based around health and saftey.
One story was of local lad Les Ventress who came out of The Ship Inn, after indulging in several pints of a local brew, Les was rumoured to have swam across the river, registered and took place in the greasy pole.
Speaking recently on Facebook, Les said –
Yes, its So true, I left my clothes in The Ship Inn, and swam across the river in my underwear. When I returned to the pub later, someone had nicked my new adidas sambas. The best thing was, they were out ov a catalogue and not even paid for lol.”
Real Whitby Readers Comments
- Andrew Breckon – My dad did it once, pissed, and failed misserably …. Always fancied doing it but I always chicken out.
- Mark Eglon – It got stopped because it was snapped by Neil Waterfield and nobody could be arsed to get another 1 untill Mike Clarkson took it upon him self to go cut 1. That’s why it’s back, and Ive won it 3 times
- Niel Nasher Eglon – No one has won it more times than me. They have ruined it now with safety, wearing life jackets and safety helmets. When I won it we just got pissed and hoped for best, that’s the best way by far and don’t all you do goodies tell me different till you try it
Further Reading On Whitby Regatta
- Whitby Regatta News
- Whats On At Whitby Regatta
- The Red Arrows
- The Firework Display
- Rowing Races
- Discuss The Regatta Over In Our Facebook Group
Whitby Regatta Dates For The Coming Years
- 15th, 16th & 17th August 2015
- 20th, 21st & 22nd August 2016
- 19th, 20th & 21st August 2017
- 11th, 12th & 13th August 2018
- 10th, 11th & 12th August 2019
- 15th, 16th & 17th August 2020