Like many rural areas, Cumbria loves its country shows. Every year in September there’s the big Westmorland County Show, filled to the brim with cows, sheep, horses, tractors, stalls selling farming equipment and displays of combine harvesters. It’s wonderful for the local farming community but a little too countrified for us – and very expensive – so we don’t go. A few years ago, though, a new ‘little sister’ event was set up. It’s based at the same venue near Kendal, but it’s smaller, cheaper, more intimate, a bit more general in its appeal, and lots of fun.
We first went two years ago and loved it, then had to miss last year’s thanks to our cruise. So this year we were determined to head back – and did exactly that on Saturday. The weather, sadly, wasn’t brilliant: thick mist and intermittent drizzle, of the sort that frizzes your hair without really dampening the ground. But it didn’t dampen the spirits either, and by the time we arrived at about 10.30 there were already hundreds of cars.
This year’s event seemed a little bigger and better all round. There were the same displays of kites, classic motorbikes, fell ponies, and terrier racing, but there were more stalls, more products, a bigger petting area for the kids, and just generally more buzz.
We spent an enjoyable couple of hours pottering around the stalls, the various ‘shows’ that were being judged (floral displays, poultry), the rare breeds (lots of Herdwicks and cute Oeussant sheep), and the tents: vintage, crafts, local food and produce, and even an entire tent given over to local branches of the Women’s Institute, complete with wonderful displays (and some very yummy cake).
The kite festival fell foul of the weather because there wasn’t enough breeze to provide lift, and the trips on the adjacent Lancaster Canal didn’t seem to be getting many takers. But overall it was fun, friendly and packed with happy families, and we’re really glad we went.
A nice, and highly relevant, display in the Women’s Institute tent, marking 100 years of the vote for women.
The bell on the front of a Wolseley police car, part of the vintage and classic car display.