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" The Wasdale Head Shepherd's Meet and Show "

Date & start time: Saturday 10th October 2015.

Location of Start : Wasdale Head, Wasdale, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 187 088)

Places visited : The Show ground and The Wasdale Head Inn

Walk details :  Local stroll around the show ground.

Walked with : Jo, Ann and our dogs, Amber, Harry and Dylan. Met with Barbara and Brian.

Weather : Overcast and dry, mild but clouding over later.

© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. License number PU 100034184.


Today was the day of the Wasdale Show.

It is one of the smaller yet classic agricultural shows of Cumbria and one that is full of character.

Jo and ourselves travelled down from Loweswater to enjoy the experience.

We have not been to this show for nine years . . . it was a welcome return to the valley show for us.

Plenty of cars in the car park field . . . I think it might be busy today.

The show is held on the field just up from the Wasdale Head Inn.

It is classed as a Shepherd's Meet, harking back to the end of season events when folk met up after summer.

Chance to compete with neighbouring farmers and an opportunity for the trades people of the towns to come and bring their wares to the valley.

It was . . . and still is . . . a great place to meet up and chat.

The sheep judging was well under way by the time we arrived . . .

An interesting commentary accompanied the event.
Rosettes were awarded as classes were judged.

The classic Herdwicks on show.

Many of the sheep were "dressed" in red (known as ruddled).

The colour comes from sheep's lanolin and red hematite, the local red iron ore found in Cumbria.

It was possibly started as a way of highlighting the rams in a flock during the breeding season.

It also shows the care a shepherd has lavished on his sheep and hopefully makes them more attractive to buy at the end-of-season auction marts.

At the top end of the sheep pens was a display of goats . . . fancy a turn at milking one ?

There was a small but interesting trade section . . .
. . . . where you could buy 'craft' or 'technical'.

Someone has spotted one of the characters of the valley . . .

Jos Naylor stops to chat and sign autographs for one of his appreciative fans.

Jos has an awesome reputation both as a shepherd and fell runner but in recent years he had eased back both 'occupations'.

There was a display of fine walking sticks, all recently made by various exponents of the art.

They were to be judged during the day for design and quality of workmanship.

Carved handle designs . . .
some in wood . . .
some in sheep's horn or deer antler.

All beautifully made and decorated . . . all practical but often 'kept for best'.

The Cumbria River's Trust had a tent and I said hello

and thanks for the interesting Whit Beck River Walk I enjoyed a few weeks back.

A fine display of vintage motorbikes were on display . . . all in working order.

A classic Bond Mini-car, a three-wheeler in immaculate condition, starts off the car section.

A classic Wolsley Police car . . .
. . . complete with working bell and sirens.

In the Vintage Section an impressive sports car attracted a lot of attention.

Despite its appearance

it was a relatively recent 1986 design.


It has been built from Jaguar parts

and is based on the front-engined formula-one cars

of the 1940's and 50's.


It is marketed as a Ronart W152 Mk 2.

and is still in production today.

Along the display to this colourful Morris Mini.

A fine display . . . of Great Gable . . . with a line of tractors in front !

"Best original Tractor" class - vehicle not restored -
A rotating display of belt-driven characters.

The show exhibits included agricultural engines, both static (driving the display above) and wheeled, as here with a semi-trailer.

Part of the Solway Jaguar Enthusiasts Club display of classic Jaguars.

I had an interesting chat with Peter Taite who owned this classic "sensible car" (so he told his wife).

- - - - o o o - - -

12.30 pm . . . time for Children's Sports in the main ring.

The start of the "Sack Race".

It takes years to develop a winning technique !

1pm and the Dog Classes are judged in front of the Committee Tent.

2.15 pm and the Hound Trails have started.

There's a good crowd in the adjacent field as the dogs are released to follow a scent trail

The seniors dogs would run a three mile race all round the valley sides and soon return to the show ground.

While the races were on the spectators followed the dogs progress with their binoculars.

There is a competitive club element to these races and even some betting on results with the on-site bookmakers.

The winning dogs scale the field walls and  cross the home field back to their owners.

A very competitive sport between the dogs and let's face it, between the owners too.

Encouragement and a well-earned treat on their return.

Young enthusiasts as well as older.

- - - o o o - - -

In between races we were entertained . . .
. . . by para gliders who had appeared in the sky.

They had climbed Kirk Fell earlier and launched themselves from the top.

They circled down  . . .
. . . and landed in the field in front of us.

Full marks for these guys . . . later on they climbed the fell again and gave us a second display later in the afternoon.

The Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team had a stand and offered advice and demonstrations of their equipment.

Some of today's profits would go to supporting this important local volunteer service.

- - - o o o - - -

Is that the time ?

At some time past two o'clock the three of us adjourned to the Wasdale Head Inn for a light lunch

taking in the craft display in the barn on the way across.

We were able to grab a table and sit during lunch at the pub . . . the facilities on the field had rather long queues.

The queue at the bar wasn't much shorter to be fair !

Peace and tranquility of the Mosedale Beck and the packhorse bridge close to the hotel.

- - - o o o - - -

Back on the field and we meet a number of friends and neighbours who were also here to enjoy the show

. . . this is Pauline who farms around the Mockerkin area close to Loweswater.

Time for the start of the classic Wasdale Show fell racing.

The youngsters creep forward, poised for the start.

They're off !

From my vantage point on the opposite side of the field I catch them mid-sprint.

The course includes a climb over the wall to get out onto the open fell.

Kirk Fell from the show ground.

The under-12's would race to the first shoulder and then take the sloping path right of the wall and return back over the wall.

The Under-14's would race to the first rock outcrop, the under-17's to the first of the upper shoulders and the seniors to the very top and back!

Close-up as the first runners reach their turn.

The winner is safe over the wall but the second boy is not far behind.

Second home (52) and the winner (69) . . . sorry lads I've no names to add.

The next two classes set off together.

Scaling the wall . . . on their way to the steep, open fell ahead.

Going well . . . on the way back.
A fine sprint to the finish line.

All the events were properly timed and recorded as competitors crossed the line.

- - - o o o - - -

Before  the senior fell race there was time to re-visit the main ring.

The Grand Parade of Vintage vehicles was underway.

The Wolsley was well received by the crowd . . . especially when they rang that classic Police bell.

Back and fore . . . no peace for those members of the crowd that move to view each event.

I spot Jo and Ann as they walk across to watch the start of the senior fell race.

Perfect conditions for a good run . . . overcast, cool and dry underfoot.

A large field of runners are off at the start of this classic Lakeland fell race . . . up to the top and back down

the relentlessly steep nose of Kirk Fell from the show ground below . . . 1.75 miles and 2000+ feet of ascent.

The leaders scale the wall and are on their way.

One of the back markers kindly holds back to allow the keen competitors to cross first.

Don't underestimate this chap . . . he's a keen fell runner but he's having a 'relaxing race' for a change today.

Clear of the trees and on the way up . . .
Note: the 'Sumo wrestler' is not the back marker now !

1.75 miles and 2000+ feet of ascent . . . that would take us a couple of hours or more . . . time to watch another event.

- - - o o o - - -

At the same time as the last fell race there was terrier racing in the main ring.

Lakeland and Border terriers enjoying their day out at the races.

Unfortunately they announced the end of the last race just as we arrived

so I offer pictures from David Harrison's Facebook Show Report . . . it looked great fun.

Many thanks David for the use of these pictures.

Keeping an eye on the fell race I notice that the leaders have already reached the summit and are on the way down.

On the way back we pass the Secretary's Tent where prizes are being awarded . . .

. . . and the beer tent where another personality (or two) are standing.
Back on the race field Ann (and Jos) await the return of the runners.

In chatting to the great man he said that he has done the race many times so was standing back to let others have a chance !

Over the wall, with a winning flourish, comes the first man home.
Closely followed by a second crossing the "stile in style".

Accurate records of the times were being kept.

The winning name and times . . . Ted Mason in 36 minutes 44 seconds . . . impressive.

The first lady home . . . Jean Powell in 53 minutes.

The first finishers are enjoying an early bath . . . in the river.

Andy Holden, Mr Sumo Wrestler, comes home in a very respectable time . . . and he wasn't last either.

All the finishers receive a round of applause from the enthusiastic crowd.

As Andy crossed the field even the dogs joined in as they hadn't ever seen anything like this before . . . scary !

The race has certainly lived up to its reputation as one of the premiere fell running events in Cumbria.

- - - o o o - - -

The final event on the programme was the Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling.

The first events were for the youngsters . . .
. . . some a bit younger than others.
Shake hands . . .
take the proper stance and wrestle . . .
. . . best of three falls is the winner.

Time is moving on . . . so we have to pass on the senior wrestling rounds on this occasion.

. . . so we say goodbye to the show ground at the end of a very successful Show.

The last car in the display is still there . . . someone please tell the driver of the Bond that it is time to go home !

It has been a great day . . . full marks to the committe and all the helpers that made the show such a success.

- - - o o o - - -



May we also note here that today was the last day

that the RAF are responsible for air and sea rescue services in the UK.


We say goodbye to the familiar yellow helicopters that have turned out

to help the public and the various rescue teams over the last fifty years.


From tomorrow the service will be run by Bristow Helicopters.

Thanks to you all you RAF pilots and crew for being there,

for your help in saving so many lives over so many years.

- - - o o o - - -



Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220, or my Canon 1100D Digital SLR.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

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Previous walk - 21st September 2015 - Our Beadnell Holiday

A previous time up here - 14th October 2006 The Wasdale Show and Shepherd Meet - 2006 -

Next walk - 12th October 2015 - Martindale for the Deer Rut