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.: The Running of the Welshman
The Running of the WelshmanOf all of the customs and ancient holidays ever celebrated in the Isle of Man, the most notorious was the Running of the Welsh.

It was outlawed early on in the 1900s but had been marked each May 9 for a hundred years or so.

Legend has it that a Welsh invasion fleet foundered off the coast of Port Soderick during the Viking reign of the Island, and only one of the Welsh warriors managed to make it ashore.

He was quickly spotted and chased Northwards across the Island to Laxey where he was finally captured and executed.

Each year, the worthies of the Isle of Man would gather on the summit of Snaefell with high-powered rifles, while one of the Welsh prisoners in the Island’s jail was forced to run along the Mountain. The gathered gentlefolk would each attempt to shoot him or her – and a reward of a hundred guineas was offered to anybody who could score a hit.

The prize was never won – the distances involved were huge and the odds of hitting the moving target was very slim indeed.

But the event fell into disrepute after a Welsh politician was falsely accused of public drunkenness and sent to jail. He claimed he’d been framed and had been sent to jail solely to provide a Welshman for the ceremony.

The ensuing legal case showed deep levels of corruption within the Manx legal profession, and the holiday was outlawed.

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Written at 15:34 by G
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