A traditional game of street football
played in Kirkwall, the capital of The Orkney Islands
day and New Year's Day
since about 1850.
The game is played by 2 teams, the Uppies and the Doonies. Originally the Uppies were from "up the road" and the Doonies were from "down the road", but now-a-days it's more about family loyalty and which side your friends play for.
The Ba starts when the 'Ba' itself (the ball) is thrown up into the air on Broad Street in the middle of town, and into a scrum of up to 200 players. The Doonies have to get the ball into the sea of the Kirkwall bay and the Uppies have to get the ball around Mackinson's corner at the junction of Main Street with New Scapa Road.
The game can take up to 8 h to play with the scrum sometimes immobile for hours at a time, just a huge cloud of steam rising from it as they players try and work a smuggle and run. The Ba is a feersum thing to watch as all the shops and houses wisely barricade their windows and doors while most of the crowd keeps far back from the perilous play.