A huge attraction at ever show, our Scurry Trials and Driving Teams compete over the season in a series of heats which reveal the overall winners in an exciting climax at Essex Country Show.
Cheshire is one of our biggest shows, and host to the 12th English Open Chainsaw Carving Competition. It seemed even bigger this year – six fields full of attractions certainly meant a lot of walking!
The 12th English Open started early on Saturday morning with the carvers anxious to get a good start. We had about thirty carvers from all over the world so if was a real international flavour and fascinating to try and work out – from a few lines in marker pen – what these artists had in mind.
I then wandered up to see what was happening at archery and shooting – they were busy from the start, and the two young ladies in archery – both of whom have represented the UK in their sport – gave young Daniel a good lesson, while in shooting, Luke did really well!
Chase the Bunny is always popular – and I love it when dogs ‘grin’ while they’re running, as this lovely pointer did. We had a record number of minor breeds surrounding the dog arena, while the lurcher racing, terrier showing and gun dog scurries were also busy all weekend. And in the fun dog show, the prize for ‘Dog Most Like Owner’ was an easy win for Daisy and her mum!
Meanwhile over by the fishing pond, where young Leo caught his first fish with huge delight, Bethany was trying on hats in the history village where a few different eras were represented, but appeared to be living in harmony.
I popped into the craft tent on my way back, where all srts of demonstrations were fascinating the passers by – including some clver landscaping with collage by Giles Davies, who was enjoying his first show. In the cookery tent, a lesson on seafood preparation was going on, and I was tempted to stay, but headed back over to the chainsaw field, where to carvings were moving on at speed.
Of course the lovely weather helped – and we enjoyed huge crowds all weekend, and especially on the Monday. The horseboarders enjoyed drier ground than they have had at the last few shows, and Shadowquest were amazing as usual in the dog arena.
Meanwhile, after a hard fought contect, the winner of the Classic competition in the Chainsaw field was Danny Thomas of the UK with his stunning elephant sculpture.
Another blog post to follow with all the details of the other winners and more pictures of their amazing sculptures.
Meanwhile, just over a week until Sandringham Game and Country Show. Hope to see some of you there?
It was our second year at Hole Park, Rolvenden, and after a great show last year we were looking forward to it, despite some rather dramatic weather the week before!
I started out in the World of Dogs area, where we had a huge array of minor breeds this time! From Cesky terriers and Australian terriers to field spaniels and a number of others, all the stands were surrounded by people all day, coming to meet a different breed and find out more. One of the best kept secrets of the show, because they’re a little young to meet the public all day long, were these two adorable sealyham terrier puppies – Herbert and Ivy.
There was plenty of gun dog work going on, with everything from multi scurries to working gun dog tests. A gun dog training clinic with Sarah Winter had a steady queue of people seeking help and advice with their dogs; and Paul Makepeace and his team did a number of gun dog displays over the course of the weekend, demonstrating the various stages of training a gun dog puppy. He also worked with Chris Neal to show how gun dogs and birds of prey (or even ferrets) can be used together in the field, and it was great to have the clumber spaniels with us, demonstrating how well they work too.
Other highlights in the Dog Arena were the ever popular Chase the Bunny and Terrier races; The Ditto Diamonds Dog Display Team, with their obedience and agility to music and Tome Longton and his wonderful sheep dogs!
Over at the Fun Dog Show, we had a great afternoon on both days, although Saturday afternoon saw the addition of a new and hopefully one-off class – ‘How many people can you fit in a marquee during a thunderstorm?’ All good fun and we were soon back outside again to judge the ‘Best Asbo’ class (winner pictured). We were also delighted to raise a £300 donation for local Cinq Port Dog Rescue so thanks to all who came and joined in and made that possible.
Over the bridge and to the rest of the show, where in the Andy Singleton arena the horse-boarders were finding the wet and undulating ground a bit of a challenge with some spectacular falls – or ‘face plants’ as their commentator announced cheerfully (no-one hurt I hasten to add). StuntMania Motorcycle display team wowed again, as did the Coakham Bloodhounds, who made quite a spectacle galloping around the arena with their pack of dogs, who thoroughly enjoyed meeting and greeting all the children who came in to see them afterwards.
The piazza area was busy, as were the food halls and crafts. The Garden of England Woodturners were back with us after enjoying last year’s show; and the glassblowing tent was full for every hourly demonstration. Over in the fishing and angling areas, people enjoyed trying something new and a bit different; and we had a couple of new chainsaw carvers working alongside the usual team, so it was nice to watch them in their first speed carves, creating some amazing stuff.
One little gem I found, new to Kent, was ‘Mousetown’. A little green tent with a big sign hid a whole model village full of mice. It was magical, and as more of the commentators discovered and enjoyed it over the weekend, it got busier and busier!
Outside of Mousetown, in the Countryside arena, we had the other extreme in animal size as Harvey’s Shires were gently plodding around the field, showing how their ancestors have always worked; and the falcons, working ferrets and fishermen who followed also demonstrated country ways and traditional sports.
All in all it was a great show and we are all looking forward to next year. But of a break from Country Shows now until Cheshire at the end of August, but we have two fantastic food festivals coming up in Nottingham and Sandringham at the beginning of August, so if you are in the area check out the food festivals website and come along!
We’ve been doing a Country Show in Hampshire for over twenty years now, and it’s always great to go back! This year we had five arenas – so it was super busy!
In the Andy Singleton arena (the biggest one) we had the next heats of the National Horseboarding Championships, with their newly introduced jump! This is a new rule, optional for the riders if they want to clear any points gained on the rest of the round. Great to watch! We also had the return of the Stunt Mania motorcycle display team, and their rather dippy health and safety inspector who seems to follow them from show to show. Southdowns Bloodhounds made a wonderful sight galloping around the arena, Scurry driving was back of course, and the ponies beat the Isuzu in their big race.
In the Countryside arena we had falconry, the fantastic Solent Dog Display team, a bit more horseboarding, angling; Simon Whitehead demonstrating how he works ferrets with dogs; gun dog displays and of course the very popular Pinxtons Puppet Show!
The dog arena was full of dogs all day, unsurprisingly! We had minor breed parades; the fabulous Paws for Thought display team; gun dogs, sheep dogs, terrier racing and chase the bunny.
Then there was the farming arena, with demonstrations of old steam engines, and farming machinery of years gone by. Absolutely fascinating to watch and very popular.
And finally we had the chainsaw carving arena, with two speed carves each day – our carvers are real artists and produce amazing pieces with just a chainsaw in thirty minutes. Some of them even finish in time for a quick haircut afterwards!
Of course there was plenty to see and do around and in between the arenas. The food halls were as packed as usual, and there were some excellent demonstrations in the Country Kitchen. The ever full reptile tent had some huge snakes; a giant tortoise and the sort of creep crawlies you wouldn’t want to find in the bath! If cute and furry was more to your taste, we also had hamsters and rabbits… in another tent!
The World of Dogs area was on the hilly bit beyond the dog arena – which meant some good exercise for the dogs entering the Scurry Bandits scurries; and any handlers forced to follow them! The lurchers were amazing and the Fun Dog Show had some stunning dogs in the ring.
So, loads happening andsome happy faces going out – as well as some rather tired little faces – after all, where else can you cuddle a ferret, a facon, a sealyham terrier, a pony, a snake and a huge yellow dog called Hektor, all on the same day?!
A little later than in previous years but the Thoresby Country Fair last weekend was bigger and better than ever. The first day was slightly dull, but on the second day the sun came out and so did the crowds! It’s always a lovely setting, but with blue skies as well it really did look fantastic.
Our new arena act Stunt Mania are a mother-son duo, performing some pretty amazing motorcycle stunts! Driving through fire, and soaring over vehicles, driven ever further away from the ramp – well worth watching!
As were the horse-boarders who followed them on for the third round of the National Horseboarding Championships of 2016. Having made a couple of TV appearances over the weekend, they had crowds coming just to see them, and they didn’t fail to entertain!
Over in the World of Dogs area we had lurchers, terriers, Stuart North was running a gun dog training clinic and Paul Makepeace was demonstrating a Walk Up Shoot. The Fun Dog Show was busy and raised over £300 for the Jerry Green Dog Rescue – I just loved the Fancy Dress Winner, very appropriate for Nottinghamshire!
We also had Have A Go Flyball and Agility, with Bear the Bulldog proving that any breed can get involved! And I enjoyed watching Stuart Barnes and his amazing sheepddogs working incredibly hard to get those ducks to stay in the pen!
The food halls were busy, as were the craft marquees, and the glass blowing demonstrations were crowded all day, as usual. With their mobile kiln and large screen, Ed and Marg put on a great display and show how they create their glasswork from beginning to end.
Children always have a great day out at our shows and one little lad had a great time learning some angling skills. The archery was also popular, and many children enjoyed ‘panning for gold’. Further around the show, there was the opportunity to try on some genuine chain mail head-gear, and Johnny Pusztai’s Big Burger Making Challenge was great fun. I think the kids beat Johnny again. They usually do!
Next stop Sandringham next week. It’s not a Country Show, but our exciting new Craft Show, just for artists and designers and featuring the England V Germany Chainsaw Carving Sandringham Cup. Click here for details!
Our 2016 started with a bang at Suffolk Country Show, with all the old favourites back again, and many new. It wasn’t the warmest weekend, but that didn’t stop people coming out to enjoy the day.
Many stopped to watch the scurry driving, with some of the most adorable little ponies you can imagine competing around the obsticles. From little to large, we also had the stunning giants from Harvey’s Shires in action. The horseboarders were out – fresh from their features on the BBC, and streaming everything online as they raced. Highly technical, guys, but it didn’t stop them getting regular facefuls of mud on the somewhat spongy ground!
Moment in Time were parading the showground, with Andy slightly bamboozled by the ‘horseless carriages’ they discovered at the Isuzu stand. ‘It’s never going to catch on’, he informed the Isuzu man, who assured him it already had!
Over in the World of Dogs Zone we are bigger and better than ever. It is great to have Shadowquest Dog Display team back with us this season showing us how working dogs train and build confidence. They have a few differnt breeds; mallinois for the security work, a search and rescue collie, but my favourite is still the little springer spaniel, who wags her tail as she’s lowered from the abseiling tower, and jumps through fire without batting an eyelid.
Johnny Bluck and his team from Countrywise have taken on the terriers this year, and on the Sunday we were inundated with competitors. Can the terriers beat the children? It seemed to be a new event!
The Fun Dog Show was busy, with dogs of all sorts of shapes and sizes; lurchers flew in their usual inimitable style; scurry bandits were popular all day and the new Have-A-Go Flyball was also very busy. The cesky terriers always gather a crowd, although the newest member of the cesky team, six month old Ava, spent the entire weekend figuring out ways to escape her pen and go on a royal walkabout herself!
The food areas were also busy with Whitby Scampi and Chips proving a very popular venue for lunch! The Glass-Blowing demonstrations were popular as much for the warmth of their furnace as for the skill of their craftsmanship; they are always fascinating to watch, as is our own bodger, who truely represents traditional English rural crafts.
The final act in the Andy Singleton arena was the amazing gun dog and falconry demonstration with Paul Makepeace and Chris Neal. These are two of the top trainers in the Country in their respective fields, as evidenced by the way they got these natural enemies, the dog and the bird to work together; the dog flushing the prey and the bird swooping in for the kill. An amazing demonstration of trust and training.
So, the wonderful team of take-downers and put-uppers are doing their thing and it’s next stop Thame Country Show over Easter Sunday and Monday.
It only seems five minutes since we were preparing for Thoresby, and here we are at the other end of the season! But what a show! Wiltshire Country Show at Bowood House was an absolutely brilliant end to the 2015 Country Show year!
Al the usual favourites were there. The scurry driving finals were on and they also beat the isuzu in the Machine Vs Beast again! Horseboarders reached some phenomenal speeds as they battled it out in their final heats of the year and the Horsemen of the Knight were as thrilling as ever with their stunt riding and jousting.
Around the first arena, huge craft marquees lead down to the chainsaw carving area, where people were already starting to think about Christmas presents. The blacksmiths and wheelwrights were also busy, and the glass-blowing demonstrations were packed out.
Down to the Countryside arena (almost as big as the Andy Singleton Arena this time) and there were falconry displays, Pakefield Ferrets demonstrating the excellent work he’ll be doing all winter, the wonderful shire horses taking us back a few years and the energetic Welsh Axemen. Again, loads of trade stands surrounding the arena and a lot of shopping going on (I finally found that poncho my son has been after… as well as a bungy lead to hold his amp in place and a bagof gluten free fudge… where else could you buy such diverse items within yards of each other?)
Through the other end of the Countryside arena, Wiltshire Police finally stopped Fiery Jack – for all of five minutes before they released him again! The Piazza was busy all day as people relaxed and ate beneath blue skies and sunshine. Mark Lloyd was only one of the excellent chefs demonstrating. Beside this was the shooting, with lessons and practise competing with the noise of the chainsaw carvers in the distance.
And beyond that was the World of Dogs area; new and enlarged for the Wiltshire Show and with some fantastic new attractions. As well as the usual displays of gun dog training by Paul Makepeace, Nat Cannon, and David Templar (who brought an incredibly cute litter of spaniel pups to demonstrate the early stages of training). Lurcher racing and showing had their finals, as did the terriers (results to follow),the Scurry Bandits joined forces with the Countryways Challenge and encouraged young handlers, many of whom were better than some of the adults, and the fun dog show was busy all afternoon. Canine Massage Guild were offering free muscle conformation checks, which were popular, and we had a variety of doggy trade stands.
We were delighted to welcome two new display teams: Shadowquest Working Dog Display team and Paws for Thought Dog Display Team (the latter made up mainly of rescue dogs). Both were exhiliarating to watch with a lot of fearless fire jumping and a brave little spaniel being lowered from an abseiling tower, tail wagging all the way down! Both displays were incredibly popular and we left feeling informed as well as entertained.
Also down alongside the dog area were the very convincing Kenneshaw Confederates; the ferret racing, rabbits, hamsters and the angling displays and competitions. Fiery Jack’s tent of games was busy – but his most popular activity all weekend was the traditional English game of conkers!
All in all it was a fabulous end to an amazing season of shows. Most of our regulars are home for winter now – ready for training up and preparing for next year.
The first statement everyone made when they came on site was ‘This is massive!’ and it was! Sandringham Game & Country Fair this year has to be the biggest I’ve ever seen, and it had to be almost a mile from the chainsaw carving area up one end, where the guys worked hard all weekend, creating some artistic masterpieces, right up to the World of Dogs area at the other end, where the lurchers raced all day, we wnjoyed two rings of dog agility, and the Scurry Bandits raced their finals.
There was a bumper number of traders; more craft marquees and the food festival area was buzzing. We also had some interesting extras in the form of a tent full of pigeons – in shapes and varieties I would never have imagined; a rabbit marquee, with some of the biggest rabbits known to man; and the budgie marquee – well worth a visit.
Norfolk Police were there, and assured me they don’t actually have a problem with bears in the area, but were showing some of the more unusual illegal contraband they have had to confiscate. Basc had a full tent for much of the day, and people made the most of asking advice from them, and from the Association of Beaters and Pickers Up, who were also with us.
We were delighted to welcome back the National Backswording Association for their National Championships again, and after a hard fought battle over the course of the weekend, young Zak managed to retain his title.
Elsewhere, I was fascinated by Andy Cook’s newest arrival at Forge Falconry – this huge four month old golden eagle.
The birds of prey area was well attended, and birds were flying all day – sometimes to plan, and occasionally taking a slight detour to sit in the uppermost branches of a nearby tree and survey the show from birdseye view. The falconers remain very calm in the face of this. And the bird does swoop back down eventually. What can you do? It’s a tall tree to climb up after them!
In the main arena the competition between horseboarders is heating up before their finals at Bowood House in a few weeks. It was a huge arena and the horses were really able to open out on it. As a few of them are ex Grand National racehorses, this was wonderful to see – and must be exhiliarating for the adrenaline junkies on the board behind them…
We also enjoyed the antics of the Horsemen of the Knight; the nail-biting competition of the Isuzu Vs scurry, and the dexterity of the scurry drivers, again building up to their finals at Bowood House.
The World of Dogs has grown enough to have its own field, where people enjoyed meeting breeds they might not have come across before: sealyham terriers, otterhounds, cesky terriers, Chesapeake Retrievers among others.
The Fun Dog show met some gorgeous dogs and raised £300 for Pact Animal Rescue; the lurchers had space to put on coursing as well as hurdles and straight racing, which was great to watch; the Scurry Bandits ran their finals and we saw some superb water retrieves from some very enthusiastic gun dogs, and the dog arena welcomed some spectacular parades of hounds, as well as gun dog demonstrations with top trainer Phil Parkin, and the ever popular Chase the Bunny.
All in all it was a fantastc show, although I think there were probably a lot of aching feet by the end of it! Now we’re building up for the last Country show of the season at Bowood House, Wiltshire on 26-27th September. With finals of horseboarding, scurry driving, the Fun Dog Show, terriers and lurchers – there promises to be some real competitive entertainment!
Cheshire Show! Our only three day Country Show of the year and incorporating the eleventh English Open Chainsaw Competition! Over thirty carvers from all over the world flew in for this, and the showground throbbing with the background buzz of their saws at work. It was amazing watching them turn ordinary logs of wood into stunning works of art.
Speed carves were also taking place over the weekend, with some stunning work being produced and then auctioned in just thirty minutes. At one point, three carvers were working on just one piece – a huge grizzly bear, in an amazing, and slightly dangerous dance of saws and sawdust, which almost looked choreographed.
All in all a very successful weekend for our carvers
Of course, the rest of the showground was very busy too! The horseboarders were out for the next heat of their national competition, as were the scurry drivers – and I believe they beat the Isuzu again in the Machine Vs Beast contest! The Horsemen of the Knight were jousting and trick riding to the crowd’s delight.
In the Countryside Arena we were delighted to welcome back Ian Griffith and his team of security dogs. What I love about those dogs is how they are powerful, intimidating and not-to-be-messed-with while working, but after the show is over they are soft as butter and three year olds loved throwing their arms around them for a cuddle.
The World of Dogs area was as busy as usual – I especially enjoyed watching the Chase the Bunny competition, to which all dogs are welcome, and put in a heat against other dogs of same or similar breed. So the whippets and greyhounds were up against each other in a serious race to the lure; and the basset hound bumbled along at his own speed, with all sorts of shapes and sizes of dogs in between!
The crafts and trades were also busy. It might only be the end of August but I think a few people were thinking about Christmas already! And the food halls are always popular – as were the demonstrations of cookery by our resident chefs.
So there were ferrets and falcons, vintage cars and vintage soldiers, a fun house for the children and loads more for every member of the family. The show was bigger and better than ever and we are already looking forward to going back – especially for the Twelfth English Open Chainsaw Carving Competition in 2016!