IT’S been a difficult year for Tynedale farmers, with the ‘Beast From the East’ in March followed by months of baking hot, dry weather proving tough for crops and livestock alike.

But the agricultural shows, which come thick and fast throughout August, provide some respite and allow farmers to show off their finest animals.

This year’s Gilsland Show, which took place on Sunday, saw the Archer family from Carry House, near Wark, repeat their success at The Roman Wall Show by picking up the champion of champions prize for the same lamb.

Martyn Archer said: “It’s been a difficult year, so it’s nice to have a few days at the shows. “He’s a Bluefaced Leicester lamb, sired by Highberry’s Highlander which I share with Neil Marston. His mother is Midlock G34 and she’s full sister to Carry House Jackpot. The same lamb was interbreed champion at the Roman Wall Show, and we also won the interbreed group of three with him.”

The Archer family also took home The Hamish Murrary Rosebowl for overall sheep champion, while Kilnstown Farms Ltd took reserve champion.

Reserve champion of champions went to Darren Willey’s seven-year-old Clydesdale, exhibited by his daughter, Katie, from Chopwell.

The Clydesdale, Belcannon Duchess, of Broomfield Farm, was named champion of champions last year and impressed judges again to win Clydesdale overall champion.

Katie said: “I’m really happy, she’s had a really good year.

“Every show she’s gone to, she’s won something. She was reserve at the Yorkshire Show and came third at the Royal Highland Show.”

Elsewhere, Steve Wilson from Smithfield, Wigton, was awarded overall champion in the cattle section for his home-bred limousin bull, who came top of his class in Continental Breed Bull.

Steve said: “We have a smallholding at Wigton and a butcher’s shop at Corby Hill, so we’re local to the show, and it’s nice to support a small local show. It’s the third year we’ve come; we also won two years ago with a heifer.”

Meanwhile, J.M. and S.M. Priestley, of Cracrop Farm, Brampton, were awarded reserve cattle champion, and 15-year-old Rachael Graham, of Miller Hill Farm, Gilsland, won young handler.

In a change from the past two years, the weather was kind to the show, with the sun breaking through on occasion.

The warm weather meant the industrial tent was quieter than usual, but it was no less competitive.

Marion Sloan was awarded the Perpetual Challenge Cup for the most overall points in the industrial section, while Shelia Graham received the Shelia Metcalfe Salver as reserve overall, while in the children’s section, Matthew Ritson and Hannah Nelson took home the shields for the most points for boys and girls respectively.

Visitors to the show, now in it’s 104th year, were also treated to Pony Club games and Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling, as well as a dog show with fun classes.