VIDEO ‘Heaven on earth’ - full Nidderdale Show report

Spirits were high at this year’s Nidderdale Show as one of the biggest crowds in living memory made the most of a “truly magnificent” day.

Spirits were high at this year’s Nidderdale Show as one of the biggest crowds in living memory made the most of a “truly magnificent” day.

The Pateley Bridge showground was bathed in summer sunshine on Monday, unseasonably warm weather drawing crowds from across the north of England.

And as early estimates suggest visitor numbers could top 20,000 for the first time in years, hopes are high for a record-breaking attendance.

“It’s been heaven on earth today has the Pateley Show,” said president John Fort. “The weather is truly magnificent. It’s certainly been a beautiful day.”

Huge crowds turned out to watch the start of the traditional parade down Pateley Bridge High Street, cheering on local groups as they marched with colourful flags.

And it wasn’t long before it became clear that organisers’ dreams, of a good turnout to make up for last year’s washout, were to become a reality and then some.

“Parading down the High Street, to tumultuous applause, I was really proud,” said Mr Fort. “Everybody is having such a good time.”

The Nidderdale Show, exhibiting the best of local produce, handicrafts, horticulture and more, brings the traditional summer season to a close every September.

In the main ring, highlights included Ye Olde Redtail Falconry Display along with performances from Blackmins International Miniature Horses.

There were horse and pony classes as well as showjumping exhibitions, lively terrier racing and a parade of fox hounds by West of Yore Hunt and Claro Beagles.

The ever-popular dry-stone walling demonstrations and forestry exhibitions made a welcome return, as did music from the Lofthouse and Middlesmoor Silver Band, Meltham and Meltham Mills Brass Band and St Cuthbert’s Primary School Band.

There were numerous clothing and trade stands, mixed alongside more traditional farming wares. Local groups, including the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the local NFU branch and RAF Menwith Hill all had stands, and there was a popular family area with entertainers and balloon animals for younger guests.

The pet on a lead competition, for young animal lovers, remained a firm favourite as did the dog show which drew plenty of entries. But for many of the children on site, including three-year-old Dulcie Jones from Pateley Bridge, it was the chance to get close to animals in the fur, feather, and poultry tents which remained the biggest draw.

Another showgoer, Ian Campbell, from Harrogate, brought his dog Vinnie to the show for the first time.

He said the five-month-old border terrier, impressed with the rabbits on display, was having a “fine” time.

“It’s the best show for ages,” he said. “Certainly better than last year, but then a year makes a big difference with wet weather.”

Russ and Sue Bland, also from Harrogate, said: “We’ve been coming to the show for many years.

“It’s a great atmosphere, and we’ll be here come rain or shine. This is a proper country show.”

There was a sea of jams and beautifully carved walking sticks in the craft marquees, while bright blooms took pride of place in the horticulture tents.

Crowds flocked to the Pateley Pantry to enjoy the best of locally grown goodies, homemade cakes and colourful cookery demonstrations.

Local churches, historical groups and primary schools presented in the heritage tent including St Cuthbert’s, Burnt Yates and Dacre Braithwaite schools which all had stands, and there were iron age displays alongside stone carvings and ancient maps of Nidderdale.

Childhood friends Jean Doherty and Jackie Peterson, now 70, have been coming to the show together for years.

For them, the highlights were the farming demonstrations, from drystone walling to wool making and sheep herding.

“It’s a traditional country show, there’s something for everybody,” they said, adding it was the best show in years. “We’ve never seen it so busy.”

Judy Middlemiss, chairman of the Pateley Bridge and District Auction Mart, agreed.

“It’s so nice to see such a good show day,” she said. “Last year was a washout, they came but not in these numbers. It’s good to see it bustling.”

For many, the true roots of the Nidderdale Show shine through in the farming and cattle classes from cows to sheep, goats and pigs.

And show director Trevor Stoney, himself a local farmer, put the day’s success down to warm weather and the hard work and dedication of the team who pulled it together.

“It’s been a good day, a great day. One of the best,” he said. “It’s too early to say if it’s a record-breaker, but we’ve a good attendance, tremendous show stock, and impressive entries across exhibitors. Livestock, produce, the fur, feather and poultry, all have good entries this year. We’ve even managed a cricket match!

“We’ve had some sun - that makes a change. Everybody is really pleased to be here, and that makes the occasion. It’s just fantastic to see it.”