Stage Set for 2015 Kilnsey Show & Sports

The final preparations are being put in place for one of the biggest and most popular agricultural shows in the north, Kilnsey Show & Sports, on Tuesday, September 1.

The annual Yorkshire Dales highlight – this year is the 118th show – continues to attract multitudes of visitors from both town and country, as it shines the spotlight on hill farming, rural life and crafts.

Kilnsey Show

Over 400 show classes offering more than 80 trophies and £17,000 in prize money are again on the action-packed, day-long agenda, with the multi-breed sheep and cattle livestock classes themselves offering a £7,000 prize windfall.

These remain at the heart of the annual extravaganza, notably the sheep section, as Kilnsey maintains its standing as one of the UK’s leading shows for many sheep breeds, including those inherent to the Dales and wider region.

Equine enthusiasts are also spoilt for choice, with the main arena featuring show classes for heavy horses, working hunters, mountain and moorland, and ridden horse classes, along with local riding competitions.

Locally produced food and in particular the rich gate-to-plate bounty from regional farmers is also a key element of the event. The renowned Cookery Theatre will again feature entertaining and informative demonstrations by leading local chefs, who will show off their skills and prowess in preparing delicious local dishes, with lamb likely to feature prominently on their menus, as the show falls in British Lamb Week, which runs from September 1-7.

Lined up again are The Angel Inn’s Bruce Elsworth, Dales farmer’s daughter Stephanie Moon, of Rudding Park, and Grassington House Hotel’s John Rudden. A new face in the Cookery Theatre this year is Jason Wardill, executive chef in The Keelham Kitchen at the new Keelham Farm Shop in Skipton.

The Northern Dales Farmers Market will again be in attendance, giving visitors the opportunity to both taste and buy locally produced food.

Multiple support activities around the field are wide-ranging and diverse. They include dry stone walling, sheep dog trials, vintage tractors, produce, handicrafts, horticulture and photography.

John and Lou Close, of Langstrothdale Gun Dogs, are returning with their ever-popular display, which will showcase the retrieval skills of their dogs, with loveable Labradors forming part of the canine line-up for the first time this year.

At around 1.45pm, multiple British Aerobatics champion Tom Cassells, of Skyboard Aerobatics, will again be taking to the skies. He lives near Boroughbridge and will be flying in at the helm of his Cap 232 aerobatic plane to perform his awe-inspiring, often death-defying display. Expect plenty of gyroscopic manoeuvres, including a spectacular end-over-end stunt!

Other activities include the return of The Sheep Show, an educational and humorous live stage event starring a cast of ewes and rams led by Nobby the Norfolk Horn and his two-legged Antipodean MC. There are even dancing sheep! The NFU is sponsorsing this popular attraction.

Other displays and demonstrations throughout the day include the local Fire Brigade, fishing and sheep shearing, while over 100 food, craft and trade stands will also be in attendance.

There’s also plenty to keep youngsters of all ages both entertained and enthralled all day long, notably in the standalone Children’s Marquee, which will again offer a host of educationally-led activities.

Andrew Wood is returning with bread-making, while there are pets for petting from Hesketh Farm Park, fruit kebab-making sponsored by Wellocks, decorating biscuits sponsored by Tesco and Fanticy in Skipton, crafts by Skipton Children's Centre, pot making with The Woodland Trust, storytelling, and maths activities with Kumon.

Refreshments will also be available, including children's lunchboxes and home-made cakes from Embsay-with-Eastby Pre-School Playgroup. There are also displays by Yorkshire Water and British Wool.

PEEL Entertainment, from Broughton, is again sponsoring the Children’s Marquee, with all activities free of charge, along with a baby play area, incorporating nappy changing and feeding facilities.

Towards the end of the afternoon, the annual Kilnsey Sports take centre stage, notably the famous fell races, involving the punishing ascent and descent of famous Kilnsey Crag, one of the toughest fell running tests in the sport.

The senior race last year attracted 73 runners and was won by Rob Hope, of Pudsey & Bramley AC, in 8mins 7secs, 12 seconds ahead of former winner and race specialist Ted Mason, of Wharfedale Harriers, who was also the first local runner to finish.

Both will again be in the line-up this year, along with former British Fell running champion, Staffordshire farmer Simon Bailey, who won the recent Arncliffe Gala fell race ahead of Ted Mason. Wetherby’s Caroline Lambert was the first lady home at Kilnsey last year and has also entered again.

There are also fell races for the under 17s, last year won by Hyndburn’s Josh Boyle, with Wharfedale Harriers’ Thomas Nelson runner-up, under 14s – the 2014 winner was Keighley & Craven’s Joe Hudson – and under 12s, when another Wharfedale Harriers’ runner, Sam Smith, was first across the line.

Fell racing legend, Hawkswick’’s Mick Hawkins, assisted by Ted Mason and BOFRA – the British Open Fell Runners Association - continues to co-ordinate the fell races. While Mick has now hung up his running shoes, he still holds the Kilnsey senior fell race record of 7mins 35secs, which has stood since 1982. He also remains the under 17’s record holder, set way back in 1978 and unbeaten ever since.

There’s added interest this year with the much anticipated reintroduction of an on-field track event, a one-mile handicap race, last run in 2003. Skipton’s Roger Ingham is organising this and hoping for a strong entry and a supportive crowd.

The day concludes with the traditional harness racing programme, complete with trackside bookmakers for punters who fancy a flutter.

Gates open to visitors at 9am and the show goes on until 7pm. Admission to the showground is unchanged at £10 for adults, £2 for children 16 and below, with the under 5s free. Parking on the showground is £15 at the main gate, entrance A, and £5 at Conistone Bridge, entrance C. Off-showground parking is free.

Kilnsey Show & Sports is organised by Upper Wharfedale Agricultural Society and its president, Halton East farmer Donald Sunderland, who is undertaking a second year in office, said: “Kilnsey again provides a thrilling, all-action climax to the local agricultural show season. We are all looking forward to a really successful show.”

Among Mr Sunderland’s guests this year will be Bill Cowling, honorary show director of the Great Yorkshire Show, who farms at Pannal, near Harrogate.

Kilnsey Show

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