Mud fails to get in the way of day of delights at Cranleigh Show

Cranleigh show
Cranleigh show

It was a day of two halves at the 66th annual Cranleigh Show on Sunday as countryside folk basked under thunder and sunshine.

Rain and thunder was no match for true agriculturists, who stuck on their wellies ready to trudge the mud in a bid to see the delights on offer on the morning of one of the oldest and most traditional agricultural shows in Britain.

Cranleigh show

Cranleigh show

And there was much to be seen in the early hours, including a ridden hunters show; gundogs; pony displays; show jumping; a falconry display; terrier racing; and a donkey parade.

Horse and carriage riders were threatened with sunken carriages when they braved the midday torrential showers without as much as a wince.

Even Titan the Robot was happy to get a little bit damp and was a huge success as ever as he entertained children as he danced in the sludge to Robbie Williams and Right Said Fred.

The clouds dispersed just in time for lunch as James Dylan’s stuntworld international motorcycle stunt show set up in the main arena.

The stunt men provided a shocking display of dangerous stunts, including motorbikes threatening audiences with mud showers and even jumping over a row of daredevil volunteers from the audience.

An enlightening show was provided by Bob Hogg, a member of the international sheepdog society who travels throughout the country and has appeared on national television. Bob gave tips on how he had taught his sheep dog in the art of sheep herding, using a flock of geese as their herd.

Although the tractors and the cattle competition had to be cancelled due to recent heavy rain causing muddy ground conditions, many livestock competitions still took place within the sunny spells or under the shelter of animal sheds.

A plethora of pig varieties could be found in the pig tent but the most popular of them all was a Berkshire Pedigree sow, called Alexis, who stood long enough to be named ‘best pig’ before spending the rest of her day feeding her suckling piglets.

Amber Westron, 13, who was titled young handler, held up Alexis’ piglets for photographs, showing her bond with the animals.

“She’s quite used to me handling her piglets by now but you have to be careful when you take the piglets because the mother will be on her guard for foxes stealing her piglets in the wild.”

Clare Wilson, from Oaklands pigs, explained that Alexis had been chosen as best pig because she had proved herself to be the best ‘breeding machine’.

“With her piglets we could see she’s a good size and shape and she can clearly feed babies.”

Also available for viewing were many goats, ducks, chickens, rabbits, and even a turtle.

In the sheep shed, Virginia Lloyd, of Holmbury Farm, explained the science behind sheep judging.

“Each sheep breed is so different so each breed has its own competition and its own winner.

“With a Jacobs sheep, it would be judged on the confirmation - the way it stand, and its colouring.”

Trade stands were popular as ever as visitors were given tasters of a huge variety of goods including clothes, crafts, beers, cakes, meats, cheeses and oils.

One popular stall was Ballards Brewery, which offered a chilli beer - not for the faint hearted - and many other local entrepreneurs showed off their delights.

The Cranleigh Show chairman and president thanked the volunteers who showed up in their hundreds to put on a show, despite a morning laden with sudden downpours.

Peter Knight, chairman of the Cranleigh Show, said that at least 300 volunteers helped to pull trailers into the field, put up tents, fence off display areas and organise the attendees.

The volunteers directing visitors through the car park even had to help push people out of the car park as they got stuck in the muddy sludge after about half an inch of rain fell in the space of a few hours.

Mr Knight said: “We had to cancel the livestock and tractors because of the rain but the public turn-out has been great.”

Colin Young, the president of the show, said the decision to cancel some parts of the event had been a difficult one.

“The chairman of the committee decided to stop the tractors and cattle.

“We couldn’t risk causing any injuries because of the mud caused by tractors and cattle.

“Cancelling parts of the show is not something we wanted to do and it’s not a decision we took lightly but I think the committee made a good decision.

“We are really looking forward to welcoming all the volunteers back next year.”

Mr Knight said that despite the somewhat scary looking skies of the morning, the public attendance had been fantastic, showing that the people of Cranleigh weren’t put off by getting a little muddy in order to witness some great attractions.

“This morning has been a challenge, to say the least. But you can’t cancel it at the last minute. The volunteers have allowed the show to go on.

“Thankfully it’s worked out really well in the end. The public that have attended have been really positive and since lunch it has been beautiful blue skies.”