HUNDREDS of visitors embraced the sunshine and flocked to this year's Roman Wall Show.
The 59th annual event – which is the biggest sheep show in the UK and an important date for breeders of Blackface sheep – was held within the picturesque setting of Steel Rigg in Twice Brewed, overlooking Crag Lough on Hadrian’s Wall.
Judges hailed the standards of stock in all sections as “outstanding” after a year of bad weather conditions with both rain and snow.
Chief steward of the show, Willie Weatherson, said: “The show was fantastic, the sheep were outstanding and it was a lovely fine day. The crowd was up 200 on last year with about 800 people in attendance.
“The Cumberland wrestling was the best competition they've had for years, while the terrier racing proved one of the biggest attractions of the day. The Tynedale Hunt won the overall champion hound.”
Originally set up as a sheep show after a dispute between two local farmers over who had the best ram, these days it is still the sheep that gives the Roman Wall Show its reputation.
Blackface, Swaledale, Bluefaced Leicesters and Mules are regular attendees among the sheep breeds, with the modern continental Texels making their second appearance this year.
Traditionally the show is a Blackface stronghold with farmers, shepherds and sheep travelling from miles around to see more of the breed on show than at even the Royal Highland Show.
This year, the first section to be judged was the Northumberland-type Blackface, which was won by Daniel Walton with an outstanding tup lamb shown on behalf of Wanwood Partners.
This lamb was by the £5,900 Townshields, out of a ewe by Hector.
The Collinson family came from Weardale to clinch the Swaledale Championship with a four shear ewe who was making her show debut.
She was out of a ewe bred by Stuart Harker and was sired by a Kevin Buckle tup.
Margaret Telfer of Demesne Farm, Bellingham was making her first ever venture into the show and managed to scoop the championship of the Texel section with a very correct and stylish ewe - sired by Allanfauld Rockafella - from her five-ewe flock. The ewe was bought at Carlisle Mart last year from Alan Nisbett’s Alwent Flock in Durham.
Other exhibitors enjoying their Roman Wall Show debut included Bob and Ann Purvis of Halterburn in Kelso.
They made the long journey back home after collecting the top honours in the Bluefaced Leicester section with an outstanding tup Hogg. The tup was sired by the Purvis’ Leadleeburn stock tup and was out of a ewe by the Clennel Sire.
For the second year running, Robin and Martyn Archer of Carry House took the Overall Sheep Championship with a Mule ewe lamb.
The ewe lamb, out of a Northumberland Blackface ewe, was sired by Carry House Redgate and this was the lamb's first show ring outing.
The show, which has grown to encompass more than just sheep in its 59-year history, was a great day out. The industrial section had everything from home-baking and arts and crafts to photography and even the best dressed walking sticks.
Many keen locals battled it out for points and pride in the home baking and crafts sections.
Competitors from Morpeth, Newton Aycliffe, Moffat and Grimsby travelled to gain points towards the British Stickmakers' Guild National Championship.
The foxhound show attracted hundreds from Alnwick, Durham and the Lake District.
Alongside the foxhounds there were classes for all breeds of terriers, gundogs and collies, along with a class for any breed of dog to be shown by a competitor under 12 years of age.
There was also plenty for the family too with children’s rides, trade stands and food stalls as well as the children’s sports in the afternoon, followed by terrier racing.
There was Cumberland wrestling classes for all ages and different weights. While the Roman Wall Show Fell Race took in five miles of scenery and is the only race of its kind allowed to run along Hadrian’s Wall, by permission of the National Trust. It featured all ages from juniors through to veterans.