Friday, 16 September 2011

Bellingham Show

Seems an eternity away now since Bellingham Show, guess it's really only a week or two since. The last Saturday in August is the date, the Saturday of the bank holiday weekend sees Bellingham hosting it's annual show.

The day before was wet, very wet. Shep had actually been working in Cumbria and was very surprised to find out just quite how wet it had been in the North Tyne Valley, we'd had quite canny weather but the burns (streams) in Tarset and its environs were boiling which gave cause for those involved in organising Bellingham Show reason for a sleepless night.

Would the show be able to go ahead? Would there have to be a last minute cancellation as happened in 2008 and if so would the show be able to survive the financial losses?

Folks of the North Tyne are tough and the show went ahead, stock turned up and supporters arrived on the show field. The rain throughout the day previous and the night prior to show day finally ran out of steam and a relatively dry day followed.
 
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Tractors were on hand to enable stock boxes to get onto the show field and unload their stock at the sheep pens.
 
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Some decided it was easier to carry their sheep up to the sheep pens, has to be said though that these are shetland sheep (a minority breed often kept by smallholders), shetland sheep are small and light in comparison with the normal sheep shown at our local shows, there aren't many that would like to carry their blackfaced/swaledale or leicester sheep to the pens.
 
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There was a variety of silverware to be contested for in the sheep lines by a variety of breeds of sheep.
 
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Judging got under way with all judges studying the sheep set in front of them looking for the 'perfect' beast, the one which would quite literally catch the judges eye on the day. These are blackfaced ewe lambs being judged with the following being the swaledale championship being judged. The breed championship is every first prize sheep within that breed competing against each other to find out which one is the best of the best - the champion!
 
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Once every breed represented on the day has had it's champion chosen the breeds find themselves going head to head to find out which will be crowned Overall Champion.
 
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The above photo was taken during the judging of the Overall Championship, the line up in the foreground shows Swaledale, North of England Blackface, Mule lamb and finally Bluefaced Leicester. The Overall Champion of Bellingham Show went to the Bluefaced Leicester tup lamb shown by Martin Archer of Carry House. It beat every breed on the day to take home the ultimate silverware.
 
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The pipe band were a pleasure to hear on the day, the photo shows you what they look like, men in kilts and playing bagpipes, unfortunately you'll just have to imagine how they sounded but it was a pleasure to listen to - take my word!

The day flew by, the wet weather held off, unfortunately there seemed to be fewer people around on the day as previous years but this seems to have been the norm this year, gate numbers at our local shows seem to have been down; visitors and tourists maybes aren't visiting, the recession may be biting hard, whatever the reason there have been less people at our shows than usual.
 
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Home time. It took one tractor to tow vehicles onto the showfield in the morning, it was seemingly taking two tractors to tow stock vehicles off in the evening but at least the show had gone ahead and competitors had competed.

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