VIDEO: Thousands at NSA sheep show in Harrogate

Thousands flocked to Crimple Head Farm in Beckwithshaw on Wednesday for the National Sheep Association (NSA) North Sheep 2013.

The biannual event came to Beckwithshaw for the first time, and saw sheep owners and specialists gather to attend seminars and participate in contests.

Paul Fairburn from Leyburn (left)  taking part in the NSA Sheep Shearer of the Year competition.

Paul Fairburn from Leyburn (left) taking part in the NSA Sheep Shearer of the Year competition.

These included the north’s top sheep shearers going head-to-head, and a Ready Steady Cook competition, judged by Harrogate College professional chef Stephanie Moon.

Specialists and leaders in the industry also gathered to discuss the difficulties farmers are currently facing, with a fall in lamb prices, outbreak of the Smallenberg Virus, and tough winter weather.

NSA Chairman John Geldard said: “It is very important for any area in the north of England to host this event, and we are very pleased it came to this part.

“We tend to move it from the top of the north region, in Northumberland, to this region. It is a biannual event which brings the whole of the sheep industry together.

“After the year we have had in the industry, with the weather and disease, it is great for sheep farmers to get together today, pass comments and have a day out.”

He continued: “When you come to these events you have over 40 breeds of sheep and several hundred trade stands with all of the latest technical information that people want to know available.

“More than that, sheep farmers are here to discuss things together and look to the future, which through the winter has seemed extremely bleak, and hopefully there is a bright future there as they have a very important part to play in maintaining sheep for the benefit of the environment through production and the consumers in general.”

Crimple Head farmer David Wilson welcomed the crowds to his farm, along with his family, J M Wilson and sons, who hosted the event.

Mr Wilson is Chairman of the Dalesbred Sheep Breeders’ Association.

He said: “I am really glad we hosted this event. It was my pleasure to welcome everyone on to the farm.

“I’ve never seen this many people on the farm before!

“The NSA contacted me to see if we were willing to host the event 18 months ago, and I jumped at the chance.

“It is a shop window for the sheep industry and it is a very well attended event.”

He continued: “Beckwithshaw is right in the centre of the country, and people have come from the north, south and even abroad.”

Ripon Farm Services won the award for best outdoor stand.

Branch manager Brian Sowray said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won this award.

“We go to most outdoor shows, such as the Great Yorkshire Show, and it was great to be able to have one so close to home.

“We provide all farm equipment, and have the Land Rover brand as well in Ripon.”