The sun shone brightly on over 28,000 visitors to the Northumberland County Show on Spring Bank Holiday Monday. With the highest attendance recorded at the Bywell site since the show moved there in 2013, the organisers were feeling justly proud of their achievements.
One happy visitor was Ian Murray, from Wooler. He and his father, Fred Murray, have been competing in the Youngs RPS Sheep Section for twenty years, selecting entries from the best of their 120-strong flock of purebred Texels. Ian was ‘Chuffed to bits!’ with his clutch of trophies for Male Champion Texel and Reserve, Female Champion, Group of Three and the Interbreed Championship, but the icing on the cake was when his gimmer was selected as The Champion of Champions. The competition, supported by JS Hubbucks Ltd Agricultural Merchants of Hexham, is the most prestigious award in the Northumberland County Show, and the winner chosen from a huge line up of breed and class champions from cattle, sheep, heavy horses and alpaca sections. This year’s judge, Trevor Simpson, Senior Auctioneer at Hexham and Northern Marts, said, “What I love about this show is how it brings so many people together, and gives them the chance to see such a range of quality livestock in one place. The champions were superb and I had a difficult choice, but in the end, the Texel hit all the points, and had marvellous confirmation and character.”
Elsewhere around the show field, visitors were soaking up the glorious sunshine and enjoying the attractions, displays and demonstrations. The main arena was packed with entertainment; Atkinson’s Action Horses, a team of fearless stunt horses and riders, drew huge crowds of spectators who cheered throughout a thrilling display of equestrian daredevilry. An elegant display of carriage driving launched the upcoming weekend of British Carriage Driving in August, also held at Bywell, and hundreds of children entered the big ring to meet the hounds and beagles, or take part in the Lintz Hall Farm Chicken and Egg Race. The Thomas Sherriff Parade of Tractors through the Ages was a magnificent showpiece of hard work and dedication by those devoted owners of vintage agricultural machinery.
The traders and food vendors reported an excellent day, and after 6pm, when usually the last groups of visitors would be dispersing, this year there was still a brisk trade at the ice cream vans, bars and catering stalls as families enjoyed the warm evening in the beautiful surroundings of the Tyne Valley.