Wednesday, 9 January 2019


Today’s blog is all about polevaulting. What is it? What was it? And why is it?

Polevaulting was invented during the war by acclaimed inventor Professor G. Tukesby.  On discovering that by mistake one evening he had invented a long pole, he was at a loss as to how it could be of value.  It was only when he was chased by a goat the next day and used it to vault over a fence that he sensed a way forward and ultimately, a way upward.  He discussed the situation with a neighbour in his local bar the following Monday.  ‘A bar!’ he allegedly exclaimed. ‘They could vault over a bar!’   Tukesby went away and that night created the very first ‘polevaulting bar.’  Anxious to use it, the Professor and his neighbour began polevaulting in the front garden, and before long a crowd had assembled, all eager to have a go. 

Since then polevaulting competitions (and contests) have been held in places as far afield as Cambridgeshire, Londonshire and The Isle of Manshire.  Nowadays it is rare to attend any dinner party without a quick polevaulting spree in the garden afterwards.  In his book Polevaulting And You, Reg Chipforks points out that poles should be made of aluminium or fibreglass, and that poles made of plasticine or string are nowhere near as effective.  He also advises the use of the outdoors when attempting to polevault, rather than a kitchen or laundromat.

Attributes such as speed, agility and strength are useful in polevaulting, although cheating and skulduggery are possibly even more important.   In modern competitions, NH denotes ‘No Height’ when a vaulter has failed, and NPC denotes ‘No Point Continuing’ when a competitor has died. During a longer game, marks may be awarded for longitude, although a certain amount of latitude can be given (up to 4%).  If a pole is broken during a competition the pole is said to be ‘broken’ and a ‘mender’ is called.

Unlike the high jump, polevaulting is unlike the high jump.  It is similarly nothing like the wide jump and only a buffoon would confuse it with the far jump.  It is also not true that all pole-vaulters emit a foul stench.  This was a rumour which originated from The Anti-Polevaulting League in the mid-eighties.  This organisation is now defunct, as are the mid-eighties. 

The popularity of polevaulting is now widespread, and enjoyed by people, animals, harpists, tramps, nuns, oligarchs, hobgoblins and the obese.  Why not give it a try today?