Jill Thorp makes family trip to 100th Royal Welsh Show

Jill Thorp ventured to Wales for the country's centenary agricultural show with her son John-William. Picture by Gary Longbottom.
Jill Thorp ventured to Wales for the country's centenary agricultural show with her son John-William. Picture by Gary Longbottom.

Only in Yorkshire could we be sweltering in stifling heat one day and then washed away in rain of biblical proportions the next.

Jill Thorp: Life on the farm is so precious - treasure every minute

However, can’t complain as we have had a good stint in the sun, plenty of hay and haylage made and the majority of the sheep clipped. Thankfully, our annual trip down to Wales for the Royal Welsh Show was a sunny one, with a slight breeze and the occasional cloud, so we didn’t succumb to heatstroke!

We’d all been woken up the night before we were due to set off by an almighty thunderstorm which was right over us for quite some time. It felt like the old house shuddered as a clap of thunder roared overhead and the rooms were thrown into brilliant light as the lightning illuminated the night sky.

We were somewhat weary when the alarm went off at 3.30am, John-William was absolutely blotto as I bundled him into the pick-up still in his pyjamas.

Despite being Yorkshire born and bred and fiercely loyal to our wonderful county and its show, The Royal Welsh takes some beating. It is a spectacular four-day show in the most beautiful of surroundings and attracts huge crowds.

Celebrating its 100th year, the show put on some superb displays, one in particular a tribute to agriculture through the ages was nothing short of superb.

The Welsh are an incredibly passionate nation and nowhere else is their love of the Welsh ponies and cobs displayed more proudly.

When the Welsh cob senior stallions burst into the main ring on the Wednesday afternoon, the crowds erupt, making every hair on your body stand on end.

What life is really like on Jill Thorp’s farm in the middle of the M62

John-William’s face was a picture and as he turned to me and uttered the words, “I’m going to do this one day”, my heart soared. Caught up in the excitement of the wonderful entertainment he’d been only too keen to rush into the main ring when volunteers were needed for the Black Mountain falconry display team.

He soon learnt that along with the other children he was to be a rabbit, although instead of crouching down in the grass, they all had to lay flat on their backs and not move a muscle. A huge eagle was then flown from one end of the ring to the other, swooping low over the ‘rabbits’. On her return trip she sank even lower and I couldn’t see daylight between her and the children.

It must have been an amazing experience for them. John-William was bouncing with excitement when he returned and I asked him how it felt

“I felt her wings on my face mummy, like warm air rushing past”.

We returned to Stott Hall that night, tired but glad we’d made the trip. The torrential rains have put a halt to clipping the remaining hill sheep. The huge volume of rain pouring off the moors has swept away most of our drive, between the two underpasses, leaving giant gorges that my poor car can’t navigate.

On the bright side though, it keeps away any unwanted visitors for now!

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