Rochester with bells on

Yesterday I went down to Rochester with a friend to drink beer and watch massed morris dancers and other street entertainment at the start of the Rochester Sweeps Festival. It was a fine day, with clear air which helped bring out the vibrant colours of the morris kit on display. Click on the preview images below to open new windows with pictures at a higher resolution, and hover your cursor over the previews to bring up captions.

The first couple of hours we spent in an excellent pub – the Man of Kent Ale House – which is very popular with bikers, and well known for its fine ales. Playing an acoustic set in the pub was the outstanding Prague Castle Orchestra from the Czech Republic.

Prague Castle Orchestra (photo: Francis Sedgemore) Frog Island Morris (photo: Francis Sedgemore) Unknown border morris dancers (photo: Francis Sedgemore)
Kent Korkers Morris (photo: Francis Sedgemore) Pork Scratchins Morris (photo: Francis Sedgemore) Dacre Morris (photo: Francis Sedgemore)
Annie's Fantasies Morris (photo: Francis Sedgemore) Fabulous Fezheads (photo: Francis Sedgemore) Alton Morris (photo: Francis Sedgemore)

With two of the photos above I’ve failed to identify the morris side concerned. If you know who these people are, please let me know and I’ll update the photo tags.

A few of the groups have their own websites:

Kent Korkers & Pork Scratchins
Dacre Morris
Fabulous Fezheads

It was a great day out, including the drive which took us through the back lanes of Kent on a direct and very scenic route to Strood. On the way back we stopped for a few minutes at the Cliffe Pools nature reserve on the western end of the Hoo peninsula that separates the Thames and Medway estuaries. The reserve is managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.