IT may have been pouring with rain but there was plenty of heat involved in the annual - and infamous - Marshwood nettle eating contest.

There wer gazebos in the garden of The Bottle Inn to keep spectators dry but the rain was so heavy on Saturday that contest itself had to be moved indoors.

There may have been fewer competitors than usual entering the annual world nettle eating championships but if numbers were down determination was not.

And the enthusiastic crowd cheered on those who took pain endurance to heady heights.

The overall winner was 35-year-old Jonathan Searle from Solihull who munched his way through 70 feet of nettles in the allotted time.

The women's prize went to Kate Robton, from Stoke St Gregory in Somerset who got through 28 feet of nettles in less than 45 minutes and then decided she had eaten enough. Kate, who is 32, was about to leave the table when compere, former winner Simon Slee, warned her that this would lead to her being disqualified. Despite saying she felt rather unwell she was fortified by friends serving her extra drinks and stayed in her seat for the remaining time to ensure victory.

The owner of The Bottle, Michael Brookes, who with his wife, Pauline, reopened the pub six weeks ago after it had been closed since March presented cups to the two winners.

Mrs Brookes said: "I've never seen such big nettles.

"Everyone really enjoyed themselves but it wasn't a pretty sight when they stuck their tongues out!

"It is the first time we've hosted it and we were very happy with it.

"There's a lot of preparation and lots of hard work but it's a tradition we are happy to continue."

The contest was developed by former landlord, Shane Pym, around 20 years ago while Mr and Mrs Brookes were living in Australia.

Dave Hutchings, once again has the job of cutting thousands of two feet stalks of nettles from local fields for the competitors to consume.

Last year's winner was Philip Thorne from Colyton who beat the reigning world record holder, Pete Wellman, who lives in Axminster and in 2015 munched his way through a best ever 96 feet of nettles. The women's contest in 2016 was won by Naomi Harris from Chard. She consumed 56 feet of nettles to equal the record for a woman that she had set the previous year.