It was a triumphant return for this year’s Westmorland County Show with the first day blessed with some rare sunshine.

This year sees the show spread over two days for the first time in its 222 year history in response to Covid-19.

Visitors were happy to be back at the showground in Lane Farm , Crooklands,with thousands expected to travel from all across the region to experience what Westmorland has to offer.

And the mood was cheery with the public commenting on the relaxed atmosphere and those showing livestock or produce saying it was ‘good to be back’ after last year’s show was cancelled amid the pandemic.

There were plenty of changes as the show adapted to the current Covid circumstances, livestock competitions have been spread out over the two days, with sheep, alpacas, hounds, terriers and horses coming under the scrutiny of the expert eyes of the judges today.

This year saw a record number of sheep entries at 1,300 with a huge variety of breeds across 36 sections.

Changes also saw the sheep pens moved to a new location which organisers said ‘opened up lots of other opportunities’.

Tomorrow it will be the turn of the cattle, pigs and dogs to show what they have got in the show’s arenas.

Stalls were more spread out and organisers used much more of the show field, which still appeared bustling and busy with smells of delicious produce lingering in the air.

Guests were treated to lots of choice when it came to culinary options and the famous food hall was back in action with plenty of local produce ready to be sampled by hungry visitors.

The food theatre was also a hive activity with a lamb dish demonstration from chef Jon Fell.

Tomorrow’s visitors can expect an appearance from TV chef Phil Vickery.

And there was something for keen crafters with displays submitted from organisations, schools and businesses, including the Women's Institute.

Thursday will also see the show host the annual general meeting of The Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth.

And Christine Knipe, chief executive of the Westmorland County Agricultural Society, which organises the show, promised a number of special guests will attend today’s event, which the society is remaining tight-lipped over who the majority of these will be.

NFU county adviser Helen Forrester said the return to the show and face to face meetings with members was never more important as the farming industry faces 'seismic changes'.