217th Westmorland County Show
Rain failed to dampen the spirits of show-goers for the 217th Westmorland County Show on Thursday 8 September, when an estimated 26,500 visitors streamed through the gates to take in the sights and sounds of what proved to be another fantastic day.
With every sheep pen allocated and taking full advantage of the new metal hurdles, a record 1,038 entries exhibited in the Sheep section, again sponsored by Rumenco. A Herdwick, owned by Hannah Dickinson of Kentmere, emerged as the overall upland champion – the first time in 25 years that the breed has triumphed in the overall section. The lowland terminal title went to Peter Woof of Stainton with a home-bred Texel gimmer, whilst John Thorburn of Annan took the non-terminal honours with his Zwartbles ram. An elated Mr Thorburn then went on to be presented with the Champion of the Main Ring trophy.
Continuing the policy of only permitting cattle pre-movement tested for TB, the cattle section, sponsored by Carrs Billington, saw an increase in entries, with exceptional quality throughout. Leading the large dairy lines was Bob Lawrence from Grange-over-Sands with a 6-year old Holstein second-calver Lordsplain Ross Ruby. Messrs Jenkinson of Clifton Moor won the interbreed supreme beef championship with Whinfellpark Glittered whilst a delighted David Cornthwaite was awarded the Woof Pitcher for the best pair of cattle with his home-bred Galloways. There was keen competition in the Young Handler classes in both sheep and cattle sections, both attracting increased entries. Jim Benson, Chief Poultry steward said it had been “the best show of birds” at Crooklands. Entries in the Alpaca section again reached capacity, and whilst entries in the equine section were reduced slightly, there were still almost 700 entries across the classes, with Supreme Champion awarded to Susan Carr of Dumfries.
A 21-year old “underdog” became the new Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling World Champion in the 14-stone category. Ben Brocklebank, Warton, was delighted to win the final fight.
There were some challenges to be faced on Showday, mainly involving the approach routes. A number of accidents, flooding and muddy car parks led to traffic delays, all of which is currently under review for next year.
The Food Theatre was buzzing with activity, as Phil Vickery made a guest appearance with two demonstrations, both to a packed and enthusiastic audience, alongside demonstrations from Luke Whittle & Callum Byerly, chefs of the Michelin Starred restaurant Forest Side. The infamous Westmorland Food Hall was the largest the Show has ever seen, and the vast array of locally produced food and drink was housed in a new marquee. One of the highlights of the day in the Food Hall was the huge bronze horse sculpture, displayed by The Plough at Lupton. Despite some slight difficulty in its installation, the sculpture was an impressive sight in amongst the colourful trade stands.
The Society’s members this year benefitted from an extended Member’s Terrace which was very welcome in the wet weather. The rain, however, did little to quell the lively atmosphere within the Member’s Marquee, where old and new friends alike met to enjoy the hospitality and watch the Main Ring attractions from the Terrace.
Marquees were packed with visitors and as usual the Learning for Life Marquee was home to magnificent displays, put together by local schools. This year, Learning for Life was sponsored by University of Cumbria and it is safe to say that the standard within the marquee increases every year. Yet more displays were to be seen in the WI Marquee, with ‘Children’s Literature’ as the theme of the year. Ruth Rigg, Cumbria-Westmorland Federation chair commented on how fantastic it is that the WI is welcoming ‘more and more young members’ and how they ‘enjoy taking up the crafts’.
President David Fell with his wife Jane said that they had had a ‘brilliant day’. As is tradition, the President was escorted around the Showfield, and commented on the Shows fantastic atmosphere, regardless of the wet weather.
A huge thank you to all the visitors, exhibitors, volunteer stewards and judges who supported the 217th Westmorland County Show – showing the true spirit of Westmorland. The next Show will take place on Thursday 14th September – we hope to see you then!