Thousands enjoy countryside fun in the sun at a sweltering Wayland Show
PUBLISHED: 19:37 05 August 2018 | UPDATED: 20:13 05 August 2018
Archant Norfolk 2018
Thousands of people enjoyed some countryside fun in the sweltering Norfolk sunshine as one of the nation’s oldest agricultural shows returned to Watton.
The 145th Wayland Show brought a traditional summer line-up of family entertainment, livestock competitions, food stalls, vintage vehicles and demonstrations of rural skills and pastimes.
Organisers said the extreme heat may have diminished this year’s attendance figure – and it made its mark on the livestock displays too, with the decision made before the event that pigs would not be part of this year’s show, as the animals’ inability to sweat makes them particularly prone to heat stress.
But the show was still hailed a success, with crowds enjoying attractions including the dizzying, acrobatic antics of the Bolddog Lings Motorcycle Display Stunt Team, prompting gasps from the audience as some of the UK’s top freestyle motocross riders jumped 75ft off a ramp to perform mid-air tricks like the “superman seat grab” and “kiss of death”.
Meanwhile, many of the other displays celebrated the show’s agricultural roots and Norfolk’s rural heritage, including informative displays of working animals, gun dogs, farm animals and horses.
Kevin Bowes, president of the Wayland Agricultural Society, said he hoped visitors would leave the show with a greater understanding of the importance of farming – and its challenges during the long, hot summer.
“You cannot have this weather without it affecting our food availability,” he said. “The only time people realise it is when we start getting food shortages.
“Sadly the pigs are not here this year, and I quite understand that because of this heat, so quite rightly the exhibitors have called off. But it proves how farmers are worried about their livestock.
“I do wonder whether this heat has kept a few people away, but I think it has been a very successful day. We want to get across that the roots of the show are countryside-oriented, with gun dogs and hounds and livestock, so people get to see what the countryside is about rather than sitting at home playing on their Playstations.”
The provision of plenty of shade and extra water allowed for some tough competition in the remaining livestock classes, which culminated in the Grand Parade in the main ring and the presentation of the event’s unique Champion of Champions prize, which judges the best cattle, horse, sheep, rabbit, cattle and fowl against each other. This year’s supreme champion was a Limousin heifer, bred by Paul Barwood and Anita Padfield at Fleggburgh near Great Yarmouth.
And there was a colourful, if unusual, spectacle in the ring as the Wayland Show claimed the “world’s first” dedicated competition class for pink sheep – ewes with dyed fleeces to raise awareness for women’s cancer charities.
• For more results from the Wayland Show, see Saturday’s EDP Farm and Country section.