On a recent visit to Cornwall, we happened upon The annual Stithians Show, one of the largest agricultural shows in the UK and an opportunity for suburbanites to experience a world of cattle grooming, gun dog displays, horse jumping, egg judging, cider sipping and much, much more. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped into an episode of The Archers as the Women’s Institute taste tested fancy cakes and jams whilst ruddy-faced, peak-capped farmers conversed in thick, southwest accents about the state of farming and bartered over heifers.
Traditional skills such as thatching – which is not as some might imagine a dying art – and cider making were on display among classic cars and steam engines where proud owners tinkered with pistons and cogs in the summer sun. If you needed a tractor, wanted to bulk-buy animal feed or set up glamping pods on a spare acre of land, this was the place to be.
For the elderly folk, a main stage saw a line up music acts including a crooning Fred Astaire tribute act and an oddly out of place steel pan band. Bucket loads of real cream ice-cream were sold to happy children and dogs of every shape size could be seen wondered around with their family, looking less than happy as they dodged thousands shuffling feet.
I took great delight wondering among the sheep cattle while they were primped, waxed and brushed to a fine shine. Some farmers went the extra mile, backing brushing tails and adding hairspray to achieve the perfect cotton candy finish (see photo).
All photos taken with Canon EOS 5D MKIII with a Canon 24-105mm F4-5.6 L lens.
Below: A rabbit undergoes the full inspection as part of the judging
Below: eggs on display, ready for judging