The first statement everyone made when they came on site was ‘This is massive!’ and it was! Sandringham Game & Country Fair this year has to be the biggest I’ve ever seen, and it had to be almost a mile from the chainsaw carving area up one end, where the guys worked hard all weekend, creating some artistic masterpieces, right up to the World of Dogs area at the other end, where the lurchers raced all day, we wnjoyed two rings of dog agility, and the Scurry Bandits raced their finals.
There was a bumper number of traders; more craft marquees and the food festival area was buzzing. We also had some interesting extras in the form of a tent full of pigeons – in shapes and varieties I would never have imagined; a rabbit marquee, with some of the biggest rabbits known to man; and the budgie marquee – well worth a visit.
Norfolk Police were there, and assured me they don’t actually have a problem with bears in the area, but were showing some of the more unusual illegal contraband they have had to confiscate. Basc had a full tent for much of the day, and people made the most of asking advice from them, and from the Association of Beaters and Pickers Up, who were also with us.
We were delighted to welcome back the National Backswording Association for their National Championships again, and after a hard fought battle over the course of the weekend, young Zak managed to retain his title.
Elsewhere, I was fascinated by Andy Cook’s newest arrival at Forge Falconry – this huge four month old golden eagle.
The birds of prey area was well attended, and birds were flying all day – sometimes to plan, and occasionally taking a slight detour to sit in the uppermost branches of a nearby tree and survey the show from birdseye view. The falconers remain very calm in the face of this. And the bird does swoop back down eventually. What can you do? It’s a tall tree to climb up after them!
In the main arena the competition between horseboarders is heating up before their finals at Bowood House in a few weeks. It was a huge arena and the horses were really able to open out on it. As a few of them are ex Grand National racehorses, this was wonderful to see – and must be exhiliarating for the adrenaline junkies on the board behind them…
We also enjoyed the antics of the Horsemen of the Knight; the nail-biting competition of the Isuzu Vs scurry, and the dexterity of the scurry drivers, again building up to their finals at Bowood House.
The World of Dogs has grown enough to have its own field, where people enjoyed meeting breeds they might not have come across before: sealyham terriers, otterhounds, cesky terriers, Chesapeake Retrievers among others.
The Fun Dog show met some gorgeous dogs and raised £300 for Pact Animal Rescue; the lurchers had space to put on coursing as well as hurdles and straight racing, which was great to watch; the Scurry Bandits ran their finals and we saw some superb water retrieves from some very enthusiastic gun dogs, and the dog arena welcomed some spectacular parades of hounds, as well as gun dog demonstrations with top trainer Phil Parkin, and the ever popular Chase the Bunny.
All in all it was a fantastc show, although I think there were probably a lot of aching feet by the end of it! Now we’re building up for the last Country show of the season at Bowood House, Wiltshire on 26-27th September. With finals of horseboarding, scurry driving, the Fun Dog Show, terriers and lurchers – there promises to be some real competitive entertainment!