Wasdale is in a remote area of the Lake District National Park. Predominantly a farming community, this beautiful part of the National Park boasts the deepest water in the form of Wastwater, which is also England’s deepest lake. Wasdale Head, a small valley ‘located at the “head” of the valley of Wasdale, . . . is surrounded by some of England’s highest mountains: Scafell Pike, Sca Fell, Great Gable, Kirk Fell and Pillar’. (www.visitcumbria.com/wc/wasdale-head/) This coming weekend, Saturday, 10th August 2015, will see the Wasdale Head Show and Shepherd’s Meet celebrating a centenary of sheep trading at Wasdale Head.
The Wasdale Head Show and Shepherd’s Meet website provides some interesting historical background information about this popular event:
There has been a “Shepherds Meet” at Wasdale Head for over 100 years, little is known of the early years other than that it was originally held in “The Chicken Field” which is the right-hand field just over the old packhorse bridge.
It is believed that the “Shepherds Meet” started off with farmers from Wasdale meeting the farmers from the adjoining valleys of Ennerdale, Buttermere, Borrowdale, Eskdale and possibly Langdale, who walked their Tips (Rams) over to Wasdale Head to trade them, swap them or hire them. This is why the show is held so late in the year, Tip Lousing (Letting the rams loose with the ewes) in the valleys being in November so lambs being born in April. In all probability the showing of sheep also started in the early years and possibly also the showing of shepherd’s dogs, Hound Trailing would also have been introduced in these early years.
There were no Shepherd’s Meets or Shows in WW2 and in 1947 The Wasdale Head Show and shepherds meet restarted in its current location. With farmers having motorised transport, the practice of walking sheep to the show soon all but died out but this also made the Show more accessible and therefore it started to grow. Cumberland and Westmoreland Wrestling and the Fell Race would have been introduced soon after WW2 and at this time the traditional singing took place in the dining room at The Wastwater Hotel (Now The Wasdale Head Inn). Children’s sports were introduced in the 60’s, soon followed by classes for none working dogs as well as the terrier racing.
Nowadays, attractions at the show vary from traditional classes to fun events: from judging Herdwick sheep from the Wasdale and surrounding valleys to the best beard! Trade stands and vintage vehicle exhibitions are a draw for modern day visitors, as are sporting events such as hound trailing, fell racing, terrier racing, children’s sports and wrestling local style.
The Lake District is a gorgeous place of beauty. Why not come and experience a piece of its farming life and culture as well? Wasdale itself is breathtaking as are many areas of the Lakes, so if you prefer to explore other parts of the National Park or to engage in other activities, there is plenty to see and do. Stay at Blenheim Lodge, our B&B in Bowness-on-Windermere in the South Central Lake District: we are a great starting point for getting out and about!
Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’
Visit our website: http://www.blenheim-lodge.com
Telephone: 015394 43440