Kilnsey Show: Thrilling contests at 119th event

A flooded show field usually spells disaster for an agricultural show but a determined Yorkshire Dales community rallied around to ensure the 119th Kilnsey Show did not fall victim to the weather today.

Sheep judging draws a crowd at Kilnsey Show.  Pictures: Tony Johnson.
Sheep judging draws a crowd at Kilnsey Show. Pictures: Tony Johnson.

Just a week ago and the green pastures below the dramatic Kilnsey crag were saturated, meaning a lot of hard work was put in by the local farming community to allow thousands of visitors and animals to grace the grass come show day.

Warm, dry weather returned just in time and a show that presents 80 trophies to be won and an overall prize fund of £17,000 proved a successful day for many.

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Show chairman Robert Lambert said: “It’s been a challenge this year. The show field was flooded seven days ago - we had five-and-a-half inches of rain in a week - and we had to stop all vehicles from going in.

Steve Cockerill shares a joke with Ian Warrington with his 1942 Fordson N tractor showing at Kilnsey show.

“We used quad bikes and tractors to get things on site. We’ve had to be very careful.

“The blessing was yesterday, we had brilliant sunshine and it dried the field out.

“Today, it’s been as good as it gets for us. It’s one of the best ones and it’s all down to the committee that put it together.”

The long-running show is ingrained in Dales tradition and to celebrate this heritage, a book telling the show’s history entitled Studs & Crooks, written by Victoria Benn in collaboration with Jamie Roberts, was officially launched at yesterday’s event by Sir Gary Verity of Welcome to Yorkshire.

Faith Davidson from Cleackheaton prepares her Honeygirl Jersey cows for judging.

While plenty of those who attend and support the show have done so for many years, this one-day event continues to attract newcomers, and one such debutant in the show rings, couple Ian and Glenys Sedgwick won a first prize with their Limousin bull, as well as the Limousin breed championship.

Mr Sedgwick, the son of former fell racer Tommy Sedgwick, had travelled from Burton in Lonsdale on the Dales’ border with Lancashire and there were others who had travelled from much further afield to take part in the show.

Ben Harvey began his journey from Norfolk at 2am to show his Blue Faced Leicester sheep, while other visitors came from as far afield as Holland and Uganda.

The overall champion sheep of the show - from a field of around 600 entries - was a homebred Texel shearling ewe called Wilma which was shown by Long Preston’s Allan Harker and his daughter Ruth.

Steve Cockerill shares a joke with Ian Warrington with his 1942 Fordson N tractor showing at Kilnsey show.

Mark and Ellie Jennings of Selside, Lancashire, were reserve champions with a Beltex.

The show’s champion dairy animal was an in-milk Holstein heifer, Shawdale Atwood Pledge, shown by Jenny Booth of Earby.

A Jersey fourth-calver shown by Cleckheaton’s Edward Sugden was reserve champion.

Meanwhile, Mrs Booth’s nephew Thomas Herd, aged eight, won the dairy young handlers class.

Faith Davidson from Cleackheaton prepares her Honeygirl Jersey cows for judging.

Mark and Elaine Hartley’s British Blue cow, Pendle Knock Em Out, was the supreme beef champion. A commercial beast from Lawson, Wilkinson and Marwood came second.

PRESIDENT’S SPECIAL HONOUR

Besides the livestock classes, a day of equestrian action drew attention among other attractions such as sheepdog trials, drystone walling, cookery demonstrations and the show’s junior and senior crag races.

This year’s show president was Dorothy Dean, of Threshfield, who believes she has not missed a show since she was a child.

Mrs Dean, whose late husband, Anthony, was a show vice-president, said: “I’m very honoured. My husband died eight years ago and I’m doing this for him.”