Sweet success as Countryside Live opens

A grandfather of three tasted sweet success as Countryside Live returned to the Harrogate Showground today.

Countryside Live has attracted its second highest competitive entries in the event's 12-year history.

Mild weather made for a strong opening to the weekend-long event, with thousands of visitors attending the little sister of the Great Yorkshire Show.

Many took the chance to peruse a food hall lined with artisan food and drink producers and take in an entertainment programme featuring a birds of prey display by Ben Potter and daring mountain bike stunts in the outdoor arena by the Savage Skills team.

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Children tried their hands at crafts activities in the ‘Create and Explore’ marquee, drove diggers, took pony rides and there were racing events involving ferrets and, for the first time at the show, involving sheep.

Countryside Live has attracted its second highest competitive entries in the event's 12-year history.

The first competition classes of the show yielded winners.

The honey show held jointly by the Yorkshire Beekeepers’ Association and Countryside Live, resulted in six individual award wins for 67-year-old grandfather Terry Head.

Mr Head, of Hatfield near Doncaster, has 33 hives and entered the competition for only the second time. Among his trophy successes was the hotly coveted Blue Ribbon, awarded to the beekeeper for presenting the best honey exhibit from more than 200 on show.

He said: “My father kept bees all his life and then my brother started so I thought I would help my father, and he set me up in beekeeping before he died.”

His next show appearance will be at his local show held by Doncaster Beekeepers’ Association next month and while he may well be the talk of his hometown’s beekeeping fraternity by then, his hobby is not necessarily such a winner at home.

“My wife gets on to me because I get the honey all over the kitchen table,” Mr Head added.

Elsewhere inside the exhibition halls, the ‘Search For A Talented Showjumper’ judged by former equine Olympians Tina and Graham Fletcher got underway and continues until tomorrow afternoon, when an overall winner will be named.

Farmers exhibited their sheep, cattle and pigs but the serious business of the livestock championships will be decided tomorrow.

The show’s organisers at the Yorkshire Agricultural Society are hosting the rural extravaganza for the 12th year and competitive entries this time round total 2,924, the second highest in the event’s history.

Bill Cowling, show director, said: “The number of entries is a huge endorsement of Countryside Live by the farming and rural industry, with entries coming from as far north as Scotland and down to the south coast. And there will be quality as well as quantity as many of our winners go on to take top awards at other leading events, and I’m sure this year will be no exception. It’s a wonderful opportunity to gain an insight into agriculture, as well as have a great day out.”

Countryside Live continues tomorrow, 9am-5.30pm and tickets are available on the gate.

For full and comprehensive coverage of this weekend’s event, see The Yorkshire Post on Monday.