Herdwick classes introduced for this year's Stainmore Sheep Show
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
VISITORS to this year’s Stainmore Sheep Show will get more than they bargained for.
Traditionally a show which focuses solely on Swaledales, this year the committee has decided to introduce classes for Herdwicks.
Secretary Claire Tunstall says the move aims to provide added interest to both exhibitors and visitors.
“As the show has continued to grow over the past few years the committee decided that the introduction of a second breed was the next step to bringing a new dimension to the show and developing it further,” she says.
“It will hopefully create more interest and bring new people to the show to both exhibit and observe.”
The Herdwick was chosen due to the increase in the local breed population and because a number of current exhibitors also keep them.
However, it’s not the first time a breed other than the Swaledale has been included at the Stainmore show.
“Historically, the show ran with two breeds of sheep, the Swaledales and Scotch Black-faced sheep. The popularity of the latter breed dwindled and the show became just one breed,” explains Ms Tunstall.
Despite a difficult past couple of months, it should be an interesting day out.
“Even though the spring has not been kind to the sheep, we have had a great response for Swaledale entries and a good start to the new Herdwick classes.
“We have entries from all over – lots of local entries and then people from Keswick, Carnforth, Richmond, Teesdale and Swaledale,” says Ms Tunstall.
In all, there are seven classes in the Herdwick section, which will culminate with trophies for a champion and reserve being presented.
Away from the sheep, Stainmore show continues to prove a popular event. There are classes for children ranging from the best decorated boiled egg to a handwriting challenge, a hotly contested baking section, dressed sticks, photography and “miscellaneous”.
Ms Tunstall says: “Overall, entries to the show are good and the support for the show is amazing.
“The industrial side is continuing to grow with photography and baking increasing in numbers for the last several years.
“We have many new exhibitors this year and hope to continue the warm and welcoming atmosphere that has been present at Stainmore for many years.”
She adds: “There are many fabulous home bakers, crafters and amateur photographers in the area who enjoy some lighthearted competition on the day. Everyone has the kitchen disasters and camera malfunctions and these are all part and parcel of the run up to show day.
“We also have brilliant support from exhibiting stick makers who put on a wonderful show of sticks for everyone to enjoy. Entries for sticks are taken on show day and both new and old exhibitors are welcomed.”
So what would the organising committee say to those who were perhaps thinking of popping along for a first look at what the Stainmore show has to offer?
“The small friendly atmosphere of the show makes it a very enjoyable day out for both competitors and visitors,” says Ms Tunstall.
“They can enjoy watching the judging of sheep, viewing home baking, sticks, crafts and photography.
“They can even enjoy a cup of coffee and some prize winning cakes in the hall,” she adds.
Sounds good. For anyone planning to go along, the show takes place on Saturday, June 9, and judging begins at 11am.