Monday, June 17, 2024
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Notes from the Sticks: Show time


I haven’t written a new column this week, so with the weather so grim – from sub-zero temperatures round the clock to gales to torrential rain – I thought it would be good to repeat one to remind us of summer. This was first published on September 5, 2021. 

DURING the summer there are usually quite a number of village shows in this area, probably half a dozen within a half-hour’s drive. Last year all were cancelled and this year most have been, but last weekend the Malham show in North Yorkshire went ahead on a glorious sunny day. I went along and took some pictures.

This is a view of the show from the car park, with the magnificent Malham Cove, a 260ft carboniferous limestone cliff, (which I wrote about here) at the back left.

The first thing I saw was a line-up of Morris Minors. I believe the correct expression is a concours d’elegance.

Below is the car named best in show. I asked the owner why it stood out from the other gleaming machines but he said he didn’t know. As always it is a pleasure to see these lovely old things so carefully looked after.

There were also some vintage tractors and this beauty was the winner.

A brass band played during the afternoon. I managed to cut their name off the video, but they were from Haworth, of Brontë fame.

This is the marquee where crafts and produce were on show, followed by some of the classes:

I don’t know if judging the gin involved tasting it, but I hope so. (Incidentally a few weeks ago I remarked that there seemed to be very few sloes, but now that the hedges are being trimmed I see that they were hidden behind the newer growth, and I think there will be a satisfactory harvest after all.)

There were numerous classes for horse-riding, and I took this video of a young girl who looked very competent.

I didn’t manage to get any good pictures of the cattle but I did a bit better with the sheep. Here are some rams with splendid horns. This is a Swaledale:

This is a Dalesbred:

And so is this:

This is a group of Dalesbred. Their fleece has been coloured for the show – I don’t know why; it seems to be a tradition.

I fell in love with these four-horned Hebridean lambs named Tyree and Tomintoul.

Here is a sheep-shearing demonstration. It took 1 minute 20 seconds.

I talked to several farmers about the fact that wool is almost valueless these days, which I find shocking. This beautiful renewable material is sometimes burned because there is no market for it. Meanwhile we buy clothing and carpets made from synthetic fibres.

In the distance the sheepdog trials were going on (I don’t know why this goes in and out of focus):

There were also fell-running classes for all ages from under-9s to veterans but again I couldn’t get decent pictures. Maybe next year.

It was a great afternoon out, not a mask in sight, no social distancing, everyone enjoying themselves and happy to talk to one another. This is how it should be.


I am so fed up with the papers telling us it has been a washout summer. Maybe it has been in Wapping and Kensington, but there is a lot more to Britain than London (thankfully) and in Lancashire we have had great weather throughout June, July and August. It’s still warm, with 25C (or 77F, as I prefer to think of it) forecast for this week.

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Margaret Ashworth
Margaret Ashworth
Margaret Ashworth is a retired national newspaper journalist. She runs the Subbing Clinic in a hopeless attempt to keep up standards, and co-runs A & M Records where she indulges her passion for 60s pop.

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