Saturday, 06 February 2016

Lakeland traditions showcased at fair

THOUSANDS flocked to a country fair to enjoy some traditional Cumbrian entertainment.

The annual Lakeland County Fair took place at Torver, near Coniston, on Sunday.

Despite dark clouds, rain stayed away for most of the show and the sun even peeked out as families enjoyed a range of events.

Visitors were able to watch traditional skills and pastimes such as sheep shearing, ferret racing and Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling. The main ring was where much of the action took place, with a display by the Cumbria Work Horse and Pony Society first up on the bill.

Chairwoman Sheila McLarnon, from Dalton, said she enjoyed the society’s second appearance at the show.

She said: “We started the society two years ago to bring attention to working horses and ponies, because all of the horses are rare breeds. We quite enjoy being up first as it gets the display over with. We do enjoy it, though, and get people coming up to speak to us as all day.”

People of all ages were in attendance at the show, and tucked into a variety of Cumbrian delicacies.

Morag Hopkins is a supervisor at the Smokehouse at HMP Haverigg, which helps to socially rehabilitate prisoners by offering them the gain the traditional skills of smoking fish, game and cheese.

She said: “This is the show which is local to us and it is nice to be here to tell people what we are all about. It’s absolutely fantastic to be able to get out here and promote the prison in a positive manner.”

And it was not only the crowds who enjoyed the event, with thousands of dogs also in attendance. There were several different dog shows, such as the lurcher and terrier class, and also events for working dogs.

John Harrison travelled from Ullswater to enter his dogs into the foxhound show.

He said: “I do about 20 shows a season. The whole thing about these shows is that we all support each other and it benefits the foxhound community as a whole.”

Physical activities were also on offer, with runners taking part in a gruelling race up Coniston Old Man. Junior fell races were also held. Secretary of the fair, Allison Bolt said the success of the show was dependant on the weather.

She said: “It’s the weather that makes or breaks it really. It is nice to see people coming because then we know that it is going to go all right.”

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