Over 12,000 people flocked to the Great Yorkshire Showground last weekend to enjoy the tenth annual Countryside Live event.
This year’s event saw a record number of attendees and entrants, which was much appreciated by the agricultural community after the washout of this summer’s Great Yorkshire.
For the first time this year the show hosted the Northern Show Cross Final which saw 14 year-old Lucy Gilsenan, of Scarborough, taking the Junior Novice title and 74 year old Alan Evans, of Monk Fryston, triumph over riders more than half his age to take home the Senior Novice title.
There was a mountain biking demonstration for the first time this year, which was a particular favourite with visitors. Organiser Chip Rafferty said: “We wanted to raise awareness of how important it is to ride responsibly and take care of the countryside.”
Carol and Phillip Mellin and border collie Jess from ITV’s The Dales, attracted crowds with their sheepdog demonstrations.
Ever the professional, Phillip carried on entertaining the audience despite one of his geese making an escape. He said: “It’s a shame my goose took off, other than that it was a good demonstration. Jess is a great dog, all the others are sellable, but not Jess.”
Carol added: “Getting children involved is something we always do at shows, they seem to really enjoy it and it makes it more interactive too.”
Lots of effort went into making the event as family friendly as possible, Catherine Calvert from Hazel Brow Farm, Swaledale said: “We are more able to get children involved here than at other shows. It’s a great opportunity for them to learn about farm animals and what they produce.”
Knaresborough Horticultural Society’s Flower and Vegetable show was held at Countryside Live for the first time this year, they too managed to get children involved, with over 70 entering the competition.
Chairman Mike Prest said: “The veg quality this year has been outstanding, even after this year’s terrible weather.”
Another newcomer this year was the Rare Breeds Survival Trust who were there to raise public awareness about rare breeds. Phillip Mellor, a farmer from near York, has kept rare breeds since 1998. He said: “I’ve been showing rare breed sheep in the competition tents to show that there is a place for rare breeds in modern farming.”
Ben Potter Birds of Prey on the other hand are regulars not only at Countryside Live, but at other agricultural shows up and down the country. Bird handler, Joe Johnson said: “We travel all over the country, recently we’ve done demos in London and Manchester but its nice to do shows near home. We know lots of the people and there is a really good atmosphere.”
Harrogate teenager, Emily Bradley, 18, was one of five agricultural students to be presented with an award from the Yorkshire Agricultural Society. She said: “I felt really proud to be nominated by the college, it was good to meet the other agricultural students.”
Emily plans to continue her studies and is working towards her Level Three Apprenticeship at Craven College, whilst continuing to work on the dairy farm which has been in her family for 53 years.