GALLERY AND VIDEO: Huge crowds watch Boxing Day tug of war in Knaresborough
Dec 27, 2023
Participants enjoy a pint with town crier Mark Hunter.

A huge crowd and fabulous Boxing Day weather ensured a fantastic atmosphere at the traditional Boxing Day tug of war over the River Nidd in Knaresborough.

Teams representing the Half Moon Free House and the neighbouring Mother Shipton Inn take part in the festive fun annually at Low Bridge. Lining up on opposite river banks, they try to pull each other towards the water’s edge.

Town crier Mark Hunter provided commentary from the bridge and besides the two pubs, Rooster’s Brewing Co kept the ale flowing with an outdoor bar.

The Mother Shipton women’s team — featuring members of Harrogate Railway FC — started the day’s sport by winning 2-1. Here we see the Half Moon team sliding towards the river in the opening pull.

The Mother Shipton men’s team then overcame the Half Moon team by the same margin, after a gargantuan second pull that lasted several minutes.

Every pull was won by the team based on the Mother Shipton side.

Knaresborough Lions provided traffic management on a day that also generated funds for Frank’s Fund, a charity set up by the Ashton family in 2019 following the death of their 14-year-old son, Frank, to Ewing sarcoma, a form of bone cancer.

Here are some photos from the day.

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The victorious Mother Shipton team.

Crowds on the river bank.


Town crier Mark Hunter calls the action.

Competition for the best viewing spots was fierce.

The weather was glorious.

The view towards Mother Shipton Inn.

The Rooster’s outside bar.

Town crier Mark Hunter kept the crowd informed.

Hundreds of people lined the banks of the Nidd and Low Bridge.