Return of Game Fair’s muddy countryside thrills hailed a success

DURING a weekend which has summed up everything about the British summer, heavy rain has failed to halt thousands of visitors from heading to Harewood House for a major countryside celebration.

Heidi Drummond, aged eight, with her brother Bill Drummond, from Wensleydale, walk through the muddy conditions at the CLA Game Fair at Harewood House. (SH100142011a) Picture: Simon Hulme

After Friday’s fine opening day, the CLA Game Fair continues today with the weather conditions proving much kinder than those which lent themselves to Ladies Day on Saturday.

Female visitors were encouraged to dress in their finest countryside attire to impress talent scouts, but it meant braving downpours as the grounds of the stately home became a mudbath.

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The Best Dressed Lady was later revealed as Derbyshire-based actor and model Georgia Annable, in a competition run by the Game Fair in association with high society La Di Da magazine.

Picture: Simon Hulme (SH100142011b)

Despite the rain, strong sales of advanced tickets has ensured the turnout remains high, with hundreds camping on-site for the first return to Yorkshire, since 2003, of Britain’s biggest celebration of countryside field sports.

In top lumberjack sport, the STIHL Timbersports British Championship, Welshman Elgan Pugh triumphed after six sawing challenges involving axes and chainsaws weighing up to 30kg. Demonstrations of the sport continued on the final day of the Fair today.

The mud has made the Mitsubishi 4x4 off-road driving experience a test, while shooting lines where people could try the likes of clay pigeon shooting have proved popular.

Hundreds of food and drink producers have been exhibiting at the Fair, and the Game Chef of the Year competition saw Lincolnshire-based chef Phil Kent win in the ‘professionals’ category.

View across the Game Fair.

Final attendance figures are expected to be announced tomorrow, but the Fair’s marketing manager, Charlie Thomas, said she was delighted with how the three-day spectacle had gone.

“We’ve enjoyed the enthusiasm and excitement from Yorkshire, from us bringing the CLA Game Fair back to God’s Own Country. 
“Come rain or shine, the crowds have turned out and we hope that all those attending have enjoyed the show as much as we have over the last few days. We hope everyone has tried something new, whether it involved shooting, shopping or eating.”

The Bath Muzzle Loaders performing a demonstration. Picture: Stephen Shepherd/CLA.
Visitors browse the avenues of trade stands at Harewood House.
Picture: Simon Hulme (SH100142011l)