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If you are cruising the Coventry Canal next week on a Canal Boat Holiday moor up in Atherstone to witness one of the most extraordinary sights you will ever see.

You may wonder what is going on in the town centre when you see all the windows boarded up and shoppers diving for cover.

There's nothing sinister you will be in the middle of the annual Atherstone Ball Game.

Hundreds of people gather together in an attempt to grab hold of a heavy leather ball.

The Atherstone Ball Game is one of the oldest traditions in the country and the game has taken place every single Shrove Tuesday for the last 806 years.

The game sees hundreds of men charge through Atherstone with a giant ball for around two hours and the person holding the ball at the end of the game is the winner.

The ball is made by the famous manufacturers Gilbert of Rugby and weighs four pounds, it is filled with water to prevent it being kicked too far.

Tied to the ball are four ribbons, one in red, one blue, one white and one gold, and the participants struggle to gather a ribbon each.

The winner of the ball receives a prize and is allowed to keep the ball but the greatest accolade by far comes in the shape of winning.

Atherstone is a pleasant market town within easy reach on the Coventry Canal and reputed to have the most pubs on any High Street in Britain so after the festivities stay and have a pint or two!.

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Moored at the canalside

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The beautiful canals of England and Wales wind their way through a variety of interesting and distinctive locations offering you the chance to stop off and investigate further at a mooring of your choice or to simply continue cruising onto the next destination.
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