While the rest of London were gathering for the renowned Oxford - Cambridge Boat Race, a group of us decided to try the quirky Goat Race alternative, taking place at Spitalfields City Farm. Located just off Brick Lane, the area boasts numerous exotic food stalls; we grabbed a fragrant curry before heading to the mini farm. The place was filled with Shoreditch trendsetters, a little nauseating in their masses. Trust East London to come up with an unconventional substitute to the traditional boating event!
The Goat Race, now in its third year, cost £4 entry. Inside there were stands selling homemade cakes, cherry wine and other interesting treats, as well as cocktail and beer areas, an art and craft tent and of course an opportunity to coo at the rest of the animals who live on the farm. We wandered around, enjoying the fresh air and jolly spirit. At 4 o’clock the crowds formed around a miniature assault course, for the stoat race! The terrified looking creatures were actually weasels but named stoats to rhyme appropriately for the occasion. The poor little things scurried through the tunnels obviously confused by the glaring audience. Oxford (the white larger animal) was the clear winner, while Cambridge went a little mad and started reversing before completing the course.
With the Goat Race not taking off till 5, there was time to escape to Brick Lane for a coffee. We jumped on Boris Bikes - it was my first time on one and I enjoyed it immensely; it felt good to be part of the blue bike gang. Returning just before 5 there was sadly no time for placing bets on the goats, instead we parked ourselves in a good spot towards the finish line. It was all over in a flash despite both goats (Bramble as Cambridge and Bently representing Oxford) moving with little haste or urgency. At one point Bently even had to be nudged along with a bribing bucket of food.
And while Oxford University comfortably won on the River Thames, it was a quite different battle at Spitalfields Farm. Smaller and niftier Bramble gained an early lead, and went on to win the rosette for Cambridge.