Today’s adventure took me to the Muker Agricultural Show in the Swaledale – a beautifully stunning part of the Yorkshire Dales. Though Muker is a small village; a population of about 300, the dedicated committee of people certainly know how to host a Country Show which drew in the crowds from all over the country. The reason for their success? I guess it is because they strive to keep it traditional to the Yorkshire Dales. The whole event oozes quintessential English Countryside, with sheep dog trials, fell racing, brass bands and fruit and vegetable show.
The procession of the show officials, lead into the fields by the Muker Silver Brass Band, marked the opening of the 125th annual show. The music and the general ambiance of the event raised the hairs on the back of my neck. I get very emotionally when a brass band plays. Makes me proud to be Yorkshire born and bred. The show was a hive of activity. In the refreshment tent Yorkshire tea and homemade cakes could be purchased, the ice cream van sold – you guessed it – Yorkshire ice cream. Farmers watched on as the judges inspected their Swaledale Sheep to find the best in class. Crowds gathered around to watch the competitors in the sheepdog trials herding the sheep into the pens. I was truly amazed at the fell running. What fitness they must have! Within minutes the first of the runners could be seen reaching the top of the fell, scrambling along the ridge, like tiny colourful lyrca-clad ants, before they started their descent. Within 20 minutes many of them were up and down again and were being welcomed back by an enthusiastic crowd that cheered and applauded every single athlete.
The past few days of heavy rain has made the grass pretty wet and spongey. The Muker Agricultural Show spreads itself out over several undulating farmer’s fields, which is not really conducive for wheelchairs travel. However, the WHILL took the terrain in its stride and I was able to get to see everything at the show – the marquees exhibitions, the racing and the sheepdog trials. I certainly covered a few miles. I was pretty impressed at how the chair still managed to turn 360 degrees even on the long wet grass.