20th August 2014

Rydal Sheepdog Trials a great success!

Last Thursday August 14th saw the 111th Rydal Sheepdog Trials and Hound Show held in the beautiful setting of Rydal Park around a mile north of Ambleside in the Lake District.

The traditional show was well attended as several thousand people flocked to Rydal from all over Great Britain and Northern Ireland to enjoy the friendly atmosphere. In addition to watching the dogs go through their paces the crowd could enjoy full catering with traditional Cumberland sausages, burgers, sandwiches and cakes as well as a licensed bar open throughout the day. There were also more than twenty trade stands where visitors could pick up country life produce, clothing and souvenirs as well as admiring the various displays of art and crafts on offer.

Each of Cumbria's six foxhound hunts from Ullswater, Coniston, Lunesdale, Melbreak, Blencathra and Eskdale-Ennerdale had provided representation. As well as the hunting dogs, farmers from all around take up the chance to show off the skills of their wonderful sheepdogs.

Each entrant has only eight minutes for their sheepdog to round up a group or ‘packet' of sheep and guide them into the pen. These trials are a great test of the skill of both dog and owner as the Swaledale sheep on the Rydal estate are known to be a bit skittish and somewhat wilder than most, as they tend to spend the whole year on the fells. Really good dogs can be bought and sold for up to £5,000 each, and they really earn their keep.

One team travelled over by ferry from Northern Ireland bringing their hunting pack the Sunnyland Beagles to show against the English packs.

In all a total of £1,100 in prize money was awarded to the successful farmers and 40 trophies and 240 rosettes were presented.