Stage set for 120th Kilnsey Show & Sports
The 120th Kilnsey Show & Sports, the ever-popular finale to the Yorkshire Dales agricultural show season, this year takes place on Tuesday, August 29.
The annual event – it first took place in 1897, Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee year – will again promote and showcase the best in hill farming, rural life and crafts.
It has expanded and diversified to become one of Yorkshire’s biggest one-day agricultural shows, a highlight in the northern calendar, each year attracting hundreds of competitors and thousands of visitors.
Organisers, Upper Wharfedale Agricultural Society, report that arrangements for the 2017 renewal are all in place and Threshfield’s Dorothy Dean, now into her second year as show president, says she is looking forward with much anticipation to the day.
“Rain or shine – hopefully the latter – the show will go on! It promises to be another fabulous family day out, coupled with a thoroughly enjoyable taste of what life in the countryside is all about and the great things it has to offer,” she said.
Especially for the 120th show, two innovations to savour will be a ‘parade of champions’ of past Kilnsey Fell Race winners, a unique one-off gathering, together with a brand- new local history and culture tent.
As in past years, 400-plus show classes will offer more than 80 trophies and a total prize fund of £17,000. The breeding and showing of livestock remains key to Kilnsey Show, with £7,000 available in the multi-breed sheep and cattle livestock classes alone.
Always keenly contested, they feature all the well-known sheep and cattle breeds, many indigenous to the local area. Class-winning red rosettes are much prized, with supreme championships representing the “crown jewels” for showmen and women.
Horse events taking place throughout the day include riding classes, shires, hunters, mountain and moorland, building up to a thrilling climax late in the afternoon with the harness racing heats and final, with bookies again in attendance for those fancying a flutter.
Kilnsey’s sheepdog trials continue to attract many of the UK’s top dog handlers. These are supported by displays, demonstrations and attractions encompassing all aspects of agricultural and rural life, from dry stone walling to sheep shearing, vintage tractors to angling demonstrations on the river.
Activities all around the showfield, both inside and outside the show tents, are non-stop. Under canvas, produce, handicrafts, photography, art, flowers and flower arrangements, vegetables – even walking sticks - will be judged, as enthusiasts from all walks of life show off their skills.
Returning once again this year are The Sheep Show, Ben Potter and his falconry display, John and Lou Close with their Langstrothdale Gun Dogs, and the local Fire Brigade, who will again be demonstrating their emergency rescue skills.
Craven Spinning, Weaving and Dying Guild, are returning to demonstrate the age old art of wool spinning – from the fleece through to garment knitting. There’s again a display by British Wool showing the process from sheep to wool products.
The hugely popular ‘Local Food Hall’ will again shine the spotlight on the rich diversity of local produce, with some of the area’s leading chefs putting it to good and tasteful use when showcasing their culinary expertise in the Cookery Theatre.
The inaugural local history and culture tent, showcasing the long and proud history of the show and the Dales, will include a new photo exhibition, ‘Humans of the Dales,’ from Grassington Festival, along with interactive family activities run by the Dales Countryside Museum.
Last year saw the launch of a new book ‘Studs and Crooks,’ written by local author Victoria Benn and the brainchild of Kilnsey Estate owner Jamie Roberts, whose family has been involved in the show for four generations. The book uncovers the hidden history of the iconic show and copies will again be available to purchase.
Younger generations are always well catered for and this year will be no exception, with a special children's marquee, again sponsored by PEEL Entertainment, from Broughton, under their new venture, Alexander's Bar and Restaurant in Skipton, offering lots of hands-on educational activities to keep the kids both entertained – and occupied!
These will include bread making with Andrew Wood, Guinea Pigs for petting from Hesketh Farm Park, Bolton Abbey,face painting, fruit kebab-making sponsored by Wellocks, crafts, a story corner, baby sensory play area, nappy changing and feeding facilities, and café with lunch boxes for the kids. Assisting here are Embsay Pre-School Playgroup, Hebden Nursery, Kumon and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.
Towards the end of the afternoon, Kilnsey Sports take centre stage, notably the famous fell races, involving the gruelling ascent and descent of Kilnsey Crag – the showground stands in its shadow. It remains one of the toughest sporting challenges in the land.
For the 120th show, crag race organisers and fell racing legends Mick Hawkins and Roger Ingham are organising a ‘parade of champions,’ which will gather together as many as possible of past living fell race winners, including the great Fred Reeves, a six time winner who broke the record on three separate occasions in the late 1970s, plus Mick himself, who is the current record holder, and 2016 winner Ted Mason.
On the field, the one-mile handicap, which proved so popular when reintroduced two years ago, will again be run, and the 100 metres handicap returns for the second time this year.
Up to 100 trade, craft and food stands can also be found around the showground. Gates open to visitors at 9am and the show goes on until 7pm. Admission to the showground is unchanged at £10 for adults, £2 for children 16 and below, with under 5s free. Parking on the showground is £15 at the main gate, entrance A, and £5 at Conistone Bridge, entrance C. Off-showground parking is free.
Dales farmer Robert Lambert and his wife Kathy remain chairman and secretary, key positions they have held and carried out successfully and unstintingly for many years. The show office can be contacted on 01756 753259, e-mail email@example.com
Full details are at www.kilnseyshow.co.uk