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Public flock in their thousands to Reeth Show
ORGANISERS of a traditional Yorkshire Dales agricultural show were overwhelmed when nearly four times the usual number of visitors turned up.
Reeth Show usually attracts in the region of 3,000 show goers to Swaledale.
And after a poor turnout last year caused it to lose money, organisers switched the date to yesterday's bank holiday.
However, no one expected the huge crowd that turned up - rough estimates putting spectators at between 8,000 and 9,000.
Roads leading into Reeth became gridlocked for several miles as show traffic mingled with day trippers, with some motorists facing queues of up to three hours.
It is thought the rise in visitors was due to the bank holiday date, the good weather and popularity of TV shows such as The Dales.
The show's vice-chairman, Paul Brown, said they had provided as many marshals as possible, but problems were compounded by two sets of temporary traffic lights on surrounding roads.
"We've been inundated with traffic we weren't expecting,” he said. "We've had to pay for our own security and local volunteers to do the roads, we couldn't even get cones brought up here, we had to go and collect them from police."
"We would like to apologise to people and thank them for their patience. People have been queuing for two to three hours. It was out of our control and we will have to address this with police ahead of next year."
North Yorkshire Police said that it was not their responsibility to marshal such events.
Show chairman Colin Longstaff said: "We will continue the same date next year and hopefully we can improve things."
Entries in all classes were up and numbers for the Great Fremington Edge Fell Race, which was a UK Championship qualifier, were also high.
The race is one of the British Open Fell Runners’ Association fixtures. Local residents and seasoned fell runners who had travelled some distance to attend all took their turn.
The challenging race up the dramatically steep Fremington Edge was even completed by one local six-year-old girl, Annie.
As a traditional Swaledale show there were no cattle classes, but the competition was high for trophies for traditional dales sheep. Two trophies for champion Swaledale sheep were won by GK Hird and Sons.
Champion Dalesbreed was won by JM Wilson and Sons, who run a 1,700 acre sheep and beef farm at Beckwithshaw at Harrogate.
David Wilson, a third generation sheep farmer from the farm and chairman of the Masham Sheep Society said the good turn-out was encouraging. “I’ve been in sheep farming all my life and like to hope my son Richard will be carrying on,” he said.
Young farmer Stephen Kirby, 18, won another string of rosettes with his champion Texels and a third win this year with his tup lamb.
His grandmother, Yvonne Cave said: “It has been an exceptionally good year for Stephen. He takes hours and hours colouring the sheep and cleaning them and whatever else they do. I’m very pleased he’s done so well.”
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