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Bumping Races

Eights Week at Oxford

Eights Week at Oxford, usually the fourth week, in May, is a fine spectacle and should not be missed by anyone interested in old customs. It is the time when the main bumping races of the year are held and the college eights compete on the River Isis.* Apart from the races there is much to see - ladies' fancy hats, the coxes' gay buttonholes, the ancient but dignified college "barges", and a dazzling display of colourful ties and blazers. Races are run on a league principle, with different divisions. The last race on the last day decides which college is Head of the River. Boats are spaced at intervals, and the object is to catch and bump the one in front. A crew succeeding four days in succession win their oars (the cox his rudder) - and by ancient custom throw their cox into the river!

* (The river is the Thames, but it is mysteriously called the Isis where Я nows through Oxford.)

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