Six of the most unusual hobbies

Gone off golf? Bored with bowls? Ready to park pilates? Here are six weird and wonderful ways to fill your downtime

By Evie Prosser

Everyone needs a hobby. It’s the perfect way to relax and unwind from the pressures of work. But in this day and age, there’s no need to settle for the mundane in your leisure time. Why not try something a bit different?

Here are six of the most unusual hobbies to help inspire you.

1) Ant farming

If you’ve never heard of a formicarium, you’re probably not alone. It’s the fancy word for “ant farm”, but that doesn’t give much of a clue as to the activity involved in keeping one.

So let’s be clear: ant farming doesn’t involve looking after ants with a view to slaughtering them for food. Eating insects may be a new trend, but it’s not to everyone’s taste.

No, ant farming involves keeping a colony of the little crawlers for the sheer joy of observing their behaviour. Better than binge-watching box sets in your spare time, we suppose…

2) Extreme ironing

Extreme ironing really is a thing, as this extreme ironing video reveals. Enthusiasts take their irons and ironing boards to all sorts of locations and test their mettle while smoothing their laundry.

Fancy pressing your suit trousers on the side of a cliff? Got a taste for balancing on a surfboard while tidying up your favourite shirt? Want the thrill of crease-free jumpers while deep-sea diving? If so, extreme ironing may just be for you.

Alternatively, you could just take up rock-climbing, surfing or scuba diving and not worry about the ironing element. But where’s the fun in that?

3) Bubble football

Sometimes known as “football zorbing”, bubble football is a fast-growing sport that promises plenty of laughs for competitors and spectators alike.

Players don a large plastic air-filled suit. This covers their body from their head to just below the hips. They then charge around a football pitch, bouncing into each other and generally making merry.

The game is won or lost in the usual way, so there’s every incentive to score as many goals as possible. But as this bubble football video shows, it’s not always easy to predict where the ball – or players – will end up.

4) Cheese rolling

Not so much a hobby as the chance to participate in a truly bizarre event. The annual Cooper’s Hill Cheese Roll is legendary for being ever so slightly, erm, high-spirited.

Actually, the event was banned in 2010 as a result of health and safety concerns. But that hasn’t stopped hundreds of eager participants descending on Cooper’s Hill every year since. They chase a giant round of Double Gloucester down a slope that is so steep you can’t possibly stay upright.

The result is lots of falling over, plenty of hilarity and, as the author Richard Askwith reports in Running Free, some genuinely skilful running by committed competitors. Definitely worth a go if you fancy that once-in-a-lifetime experience.

5) Geocaching

Compared to cheese rolling, geocaching seems like a fairly normal way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Basically a giant treasure hunt, it’s dead easy to get started with geocaching. Download the app to your smart phone and all the geocaches in your vicinity will display on an interactive map. You simply select the one you want to locate then navigate your way there using the app.

Once you arrive, you’ll see a container – made of wood, plastic or metal – with the geocaching symbol on it. Open it up and you’ll find a logbook to sign, as well as trinkets left by other geocachers. You can take one of these to keep, add something of your own, then seal the container and put it back in its position. Job done, and onto the next location: perfect if you want to bring a bit of purpose to a stroll, and the ideal way to motivate reluctant young legs.

6) Drain cover spotting

It is not only Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who enjoys drainspotting. The pastime is a favourite among many thrill seekers, who stroll around towns and cities in search of the unique markings on sewer covers.

The hobby is especially popular in Japan, where drainhole covers tend to be rather more artistic than in the UK. Japanese drainspotting has even inspired a book that details some of the country’s most eye-catching designs.

The great thing about drain cover spotting is that you can do it pretty much anywhere. And as drainhole enthusiast Calvin Payne told The Daily Mail, there are some surprisingly ornate designs if you know where to look.

© Copyright Just Recruitment 2019

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