Can you believe it? The World’s Biggest Liar Competition is back!

By Rachael Grealish

HAVE you heard the one about the county with the unbelievable world championship competitions?

TOP LIARS: 2nd place winner, Mike Naylor, 3rd place Helen Jordan and the World’s Biggest Liar 2016 George Kemp -photo by Robert Haile

Well, you’re about to as the world’s most unbelievable competition is back for another year as Cumbria seeks out a new storytelling fibber.

Lairs from all-over the UK are set to head to the Santon Bridge Inn as the World’s Biggest Liar competition is to take place on Thursday November 16.

The annual ‘stand-up’ competition is for telling the tallest tales possible, and fibbers travel from all around the world to reveal their most convincing lie without scripts or props.

Cumbria’s own Monkey Liar – or 61 year-old Mike Naylor if you see him on the street, as this is just his stage name (also an anagram of his own name) – is pretty good at telling a cracking pork pie, as he has won the competition four times since entering in 2004, coming in second last year.

He said: “In the early years of The World’s Biggest Liar I went to a couple of the competitions and thought I can have a go at writing a story.”

In 2003 Abrie Krueger of South Africa was named the winner after telling a story about how he was crowned King of the Wasdale Valley – Mike said this was a story he wrote for Krueger – this caused controversy as it marked the first time that a foreigner had won the competition, which was marked with allegations of Krueger having cheated

Mike said: “So Abrie Krueger was toying with the Idea of having a go in 2003 I think so I sat down in the bar at The Wasdale Head Inn and wrote his winning story for him.

“It was about a cable car ride up Scawfell Pike and all the fun of the fair as you can imagine. I was shocked when the story won.

“The next year my son Adam wanted to enter – we rehearsed the story I had written, together, but when it came to the crunch Adam chickened out.

“I had just finished a long shift in the Great Gable Brewery when he informed me, as I had learned the story, but I didn’t even have time to get changed so I turned up in my boiler suit and wellies and won.”

But when it comes to storytelling, Mike says we all start in the pace, he explained: “I first got into storytelling probably at a very young age, as we all do with our very first lie, which is the same as everybody else’s first lie, wherever in the world we come from: it wasn’t me.”

Mike has told stories about when Herdwicks were replaced by fast growing foodfish after the floods, discovering Wassie who lives in Wastwater and even the time he discovered his royal ancestry after cutting himself shaving and the paramedics told him he had royal blood – which won him first prize in 2015.

In 2016 Mike came second with the sequel to his tale about his links with royal ancestry.
Mike said: “Last year I was runner up with what I thought was my best story so far but it wasn’t to be. Yes I came second last year but this year you have to start all over again.”

Even though he has won four times Mike said he never goes into a competition thinking he’s going to win – though his new item of clothing has him feeling good about it.

He said: “ I am never confident when the night comes I am a bag of nerves and difficult to live with for a week or so before.

“Contrary to all beliefs they are massive butterflies in my stomach and not moths from my wallet- though I’m feeling quite good this year because I got a new t-shirt.”

But the one thing we all want to know is: what makes a perfect lie?

Mike said: “What makes a perfect lie? It’s just making the most unbelievable become believable I suppose.”

Now, it’s up to you if you choose to believe a word Mike says, as he did state at the start of the interview: “I will do my best to tell the truth the whole truth and anything but the truth – if you think I will tell truthful answers.”

Mike Naylor isn’t the only one famous for being the world’s best liar – just over a decade ago ex-Great British Bake

Off host and comedienne Sue Perkins became the first ever woman to win the competition, in 2006, with a story about how the ozone Layer was really destroyed.

World’s Biggest Liar is held in memory of Will Ritson (1808-1890), former pub landlord of the Wasdale Head Inn, well known for his “tall tales”.

One of Ritson’s most famous fibs was that turnips grew so large in the Lake District that people carved them out to make cow sheds.

It was also once said that a Bishop of Carlisle once won the title with with the shortest-ever speech; he simply said: “I have never told a lie in my life.”

To win contestants have five minutes to tell the biggest and most convincing tall tale they can.

This editor was disappointed to hear that politicians, lawyers, salesmen and journalists are barred from entering because they are ‘professional liars’ and to quote: “They are judged to be too skilled at telling porkies” as is anyone who has won three years in a row.

The World’s Biggest Liar competition is set to take place on Thursday November 16 at the Santon Bridge Inn – well, that’s if you can believe us or not!