Sheep invade Skipton town centre for a day of celebration

Skipton Sheep Day attracted thousands of visitors.  Pictures by Simon Hulme.
Skipton Sheep Day attracted thousands of visitors. Pictures by Simon Hulme.
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A North Yorkshire market town lived up to its Anglo Saxon name as sheep flocked into the High Street for a day that celebrated local heritage.

Skipton’s name was originally ‘Sceap Tun’, meaning Sheep Town, and it literally became just that today for its annual Sheep Day.

Heather Procter walks Violet (right), a Hampshire Down, and Esther, a North Ronaldsay.

Heather Procter walks Violet (right), a Hampshire Down, and Esther, a North Ronaldsay.

It was a case of the countryside coming to town for a free day of entertainment and education in an event organised each year by Skipton Town Council that echoed of times goneby when drovers brought animals into town to be sold at auctions.

Organisers estimated that as many as 13,000 people packed streets as a host of family-friendly, animal-based attractions competed for attention in the glorious summery conditions.

A sheep show involved different breeds, shearing and sheep dancing. There was as a petting zoo, lamb racing, dog and duck displays and other displays of rare breeds and birds of prey.

Llamas took centre stage thanks to displays by Nidderdale Llamas trekking centre and alpacas featured courtesy of Riggmoor Reindeer.

Some vintage, 1960s David Brown tractors, originally purchased from a dealership on the High Street, were also brought along for people admire.

Meanwhile, countryside arts and crafts made for captivating sideshows as people browsed the event’s various stalls and picked up souvenirs of their day.

A musical backdrop was provided by Skipton Brass Band, talented local singer Niamh Mirfield, aged 14, and Skipton Music Centre’s Junior Concert Band.

Brett Butler, events and tourism manager for Skipton, said: “Sheep Day’s all about our heritage. Sheep farming is still a big part of our local economy and we have sheep dog sales at Skipton’s auction mart.

Jacquie Edwards pictured at the Sheep Day.

Jacquie Edwards pictured at the Sheep Day.

“It’s great to have a nice event on the high street and it’s brilliant to support the farming community.”

Becky Burniston (right) and Clare Brown from Rigmoor Reindeers walk baby alpacas through the streets of Skipton.

Becky Burniston (right) and Clare Brown from Rigmoor Reindeers walk baby alpacas through the streets of Skipton.