The rainy day did not deter just over 23,000 visitors to the Northumberland County Show on spring Bank Holiday Monday.
Agriculture is the heart of the show and Champion of Champions competition judge, Mr. Robert Neill of Upper Nisbet near Jedburgh, said of the final line up, “It is an honour to be asked to judge today. Every animal here could be the winner. The quality is outstanding.” The winner of the competition supported by JS Hubbucks Ltd was pedigree Limousin in-calf heifer called Mystyle Maitoi, owned by the Richardson family of Gill House, Appleby. Handler, Ben Richardson, was delighted by the result saying, “I can’t tell you what this means to us! It’s amazing! This heifer was home bred and we knew from the beginning she was special.”
The damp weather sent visitors flocking to the indoor marquees to marvel at the array of livestock exhibits or indulge in some retail therapy in the shopping marquee and watch our chefs cook up some mouthwatering delights in the food marquee.
In the Countryside Area the record number of alpaca entries enjoyed an outdoor covered showing ring where nearly one hundred and fifty of these delightful creatures were inspected by the judge, Mary-Jo Smith, from Reading. Next door the Goat marquee was equally popular with a new larger marquee this year granting visitors easier access to the pens to get up close to the animals. The Pig Section probably won the highest number of ‘oohs and ahs’ with their two large pens of adorable Kune Kune and Tamworth piglets.
The show celebrated the centenary year of Forestry England with a huge display area featuring vintage vans, a rally car, enormous forestry machinery and representatives from nearby Kielder Forest gave away free trees to the public. Around the showground there were stilt walking ‘tree men’, fire walking, chainsaw carving displays and an all-action show by the Cumbrian and Welsh Axe Men. The theme continued with a School Art Competition that displayed the talent and creativity of local youngsters.
Launched at this year’s show this year was a Woodland Run, supported by one of the largest local employers EGGER UK in collaboration with Run Nation. Competitors set off on a 5k dash through the beautiful woodland around Bywell Estate on a route that took in hills, riverside trails and forest tracks. First across the line was Jamie Thom who sprinted across the finish line in twenty one minutes; a great result considering he had only decided to do the compete when he arrived at the show and had to borrow his wife’s trousers to run in!
At lunchtime the Bishop of Newcastle, the Right Reverend Christine Hardman, made a moving address in the main arena saying, “It is a privilege to pray for our farming and rural communities and bless Northumberland County Show.” As if by divine intervention, the rain stopped. The bright afternoon brought the visitors outside to enjoy the Cattle and Sheep lines, British Show Jumping, Equine classes, Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling, Tug of War, Dog Shows KC Reg and fun, parade of vintage tractors and the highlight of the main arena, an Inter Hunt Relay with high speed jumping, quad bikes and plenty of action saw ten teams of riders compete for the coveted title and prize.
The show’s Chairman, Robert Raine concluded, “It is always a great day out, no matter what the weather. A strong sense of community has never been more important as we face uncertain times. We are all connected, as families, communities and as consumers, through our reliance on the land and its produce. This is a marvelous showcase of all that is great about our region’s agriculture, tourism and land use.”