THOUSANDS of people from all corners of the UK headed to the Lake District for the 111th Rydal Sheepdog and Hound Show on the lower slopes of Fairfield Horseshoe.
A total of 240 rosettes and 40 trophies were won and more than £1,100 in prize money handed out.
All of Cumbria’s six foxhound hunts were represented, from Coniston, Ullswater, Eskdale-Ennerdale, Lunesdale, Melbreak and Blencathra.
It is a pivotal event for farmers and sheepdogs and also an opportunity for hunting packs to show their foxhounds, harriers and beagles.
One eight-member team from Northern Ireland – the Sunnyland Beagles – made a two-and-a-half hour ferry crossing and then a three-and-a-half hour drive to be at the show. A member said: “There’s a good standard of hound here and it’s the closest show we can get to to show hounds with English packs.”
From the backs of cars, jeeps and 4x4s, the howl of anxious dogs could be heard, keen to get moving in the hound trailing races.
The spectacle is also considered one of the best in the country for sheepdog trials because the skittish Swaledale sheep on the Rydal Estate usually spend most of the year on the fells and are considered just a little more wild.
Having a wee dram after his turn in the arena was retired farmer Malcolm Priestley with four Border Collies – Lovat, Moss, Kyle and Rovi.
“I’ve been coming since I was a teenager and it’s a lovely atmosphere here, there’s no two ways about it,” said Mr Priestley, who lives between Dumfries and Castle Douglas.
He explained that good sheepdogs exchanged hands for around £5,000 and competitors got just eight minutes for their dog to round-up a ‘packet’ of sheep and get them in the pen.
Spectators Mark and Linda Burns, from Warrington, were fascinated.
Mr Burns, 54, said: “I find it really interesting – there’s a lot more skill than you realise. It brings all the farmers from everywhere and the competition is taken very seriously.”
Event chairman Claire Logan-Stephens, of Staveley, whose families have been involved in the show for generations, said: “It feels like it’s been a really good day in terms of attendance as it feels really busy. It’s very well respected as a hound show and that’s why people travel quite a distance.”