Long day today. Up early to stuff the slow cooker with a rolled mutton shoulder, sausages and lots of veggies before Otley farmers' market. That done (and the bare minimum - freezer and fridge stuff - put away) we all piled in the hired van and off to Masham.
A young handler's pride and joy, obviously fluffed and titivated to the limit. I think it's a Swaledale, uncharacteristically clean and white.
Biodegradeable wool coffins, anyone?
The two big breweries in the town make the most of the occasion. This is the Theakston cooper demonstration van. Worth watching the demonstration if only to see people plucked out of the audience to have a go failing miserably because they lack a third (and fourth) hand.
Behind the church they have sheep races and demonstrations of sheepdog working, except the latter uses ducks. Here are the stunt ducks relaxing between demonstrations - the jacuzzi was popular (click for bigger, as with all).
A particularly impressive Manx Loghtan ram. You'd think he'd get neckache...
And the ladies of this breed, while not quite so impressive, still can pack quite a headful.
Hebridean ram with a baleful stare.
Teddy bear sheep - Hampshires.
Mark approaching after stashing my two new fleeces in the car. I knew I wasn't supposed to get more fleeces, but I had to have a look in the fleece tent, just to see. I found a lovely little Ryeland, probably a shearling, nice and soft and small. Lots of Ryeland fleeces there. I was really looking for a true down-type - there was a Southdown fleece but it was horrible: very short, filthy, full of second cuts. Ick. I also succumbed to a Jacob - I shall chuck at least half, because it needs a vicious skirting, but it's long stapled, surprisingly soft, and the white's a good clear white with a very dark brown. Could be nice. Currently stuck in the kitchen until I can get them washed; I hope the weather continues fine enough to dry outside.
Across the sheep pens in the opposite direction
We had lunch with Denise and Tim from Whitby, and I was appalled to remember on returning home and checking Facebook that it was Denise's birthday today and I'd completely forgotten. I'd even remembered earlier in the week. However, Bil left lots of licky messages on Denise's knees for her two pupz, Deefa and Holly, to pick up later!
The ancient carved cross in the churchyard.
I do like the look of Cheviot sheep - a good, basic, down-to-earth Northern sheep. Nothing fancy, excellent wool if not terribly soft. Great for socks! Mostly used for carpets these days, what isn't burnt by the farmers of course.
And a Scottish Blackface. Archetypal sheep of the hills.
A splendid black Wensleydale and his chum. They look so dark when unshorn, but once the fibre's processed it gets paler and warmer until a black Wensleydale top is more of a dark creamy brown. And always much 'fluffier' than the same breed's fibre in white.
A close-up of the previous fellow.
A couple of books also sneaked under the radar at P&M Woolcraft, plus a copy of Wild Fibers, but I have practically all the tools I really need now so managed to restrain myself from complete giddiness (especially after the extortionately expensive set of Symphonie interchangeable circulars I got at Baa Ram Ewe on Friday).
And the casserole this evening was really yummy.