Once again Widecombe Fair provided a delightful day out. Events began at 9 a.m. and continued throughout the day in the various show rings and marquees, with entertainment continuing in the music/beer tent from 10 a.m. until midnight.
The sheep-shearing is always worth a look. This year the standard was particularly high as it was the final of a competition with heats that had taken place at agricultural shows around the country over the
preceeding months. Some of the professional shearers are amazing: 400 sheep in a day, each one weighing about 100kg and having to be wrestled into position before being sheared – and all done while bent double. Back-breaking stuff!
New this year was a group of Anglo Saxon re-enactors who set up an encampment and demonstrated various aspects of 10th century life, including the hand-minting of silver coins and tactics for defending against Viking attacks.
Among the display of historic farm machinery was a 1953 Field Marshall tractor exhibited by retired farmer Mary Phillips. Known locally as ‘Mary Tractor’, she has raised many thousands of pounds over the years for the Air Ambulance Service. In 2012, at the age of 72 (sorry, Mary, but I felt compelled to mention it) she drove the Field Marshall from John O’Groats to Land’s End. She raised so much money in sponsorship that in 2013 she did it again, but in the reverse direction, and went to Dunnet Head, about 11 miles north of John O’Groats.
The local foxhound pack put in its usual appearance, but this year it was joined by some of the Devon & Cornwall Minkhound pack. The hounds always make me smile. The younger pack members mill around, very excited by the crowd, but some of the old hands slip away from the pack to work the crowd for bits of pasty and other tasty treats.
The fruit and veg carving also produced smiles and the tug-of-war was ferociously competitive.
But this is definitely a situation where pictures say more than words – so here goes: