I’ve been drafted in for another guest blog as I recently attending my first show (Woolfest 2019) and Jem thought it might be interesting for me to share my experience.
For those of you who don’t know, Woolfest takes place every year in Cockermouth, Cumbria and brings together a wide variety of people with a passion for wool and yarn. You can find out more at www.woolfest.co.uk.
The show takes place in a livestock centre, and the first thing that struck me was the transformation from a fairly drab warehouse that smelled a bit funny, to a bustling show floor with a huge number of stallholders, a lot of whom had excellent stall designs. That’s probably pretty standard for those of you who have been to one of these shows before, but it was a huge eye-opener for me.
Rather shamefully, I didn’t take many pictures of other stalls – turns out these shows get quite busy, so I didn’t have a lot of time to go wandering around as I was busy helping Jem (mostly just getting in the way!) on our stall.
However, I did get a chance to check out some of the animals on show, and it was a treat to see a wide variety of different breeds (some quite exotic!) in attendance. I grew up in the countryside (about 40 miles north of Cockermouth) so it was nice to hear the occasional ‘baa’ from our ovine friends.
My favourite (and I’m a little biased here) was Hector, who is an Exmoor Horn ram and was in the stall directly across from us for the entire show. His owners were lovely to chat to and we learned a lot about Hector and his ways throughout the show – apparently, he’s a very deep thinker! For those of you who have attended Woolfest before, Hector is the son of Terry, who seemed to be a bit of a celebrity around the place.
I also met some very interesting Hebridean sheep and had a lovely chat with the lady from the Hebridian Sheep Society. I didn’t catch his name, but the fellow below with the rather pointy horns startled a couple of dogs whilst I was visiting – I don’t blame them for being a bit scared!
I also met some Herdwick sheep on my travels. Jem and I both have a bit of a soft-spot for herdies – they always look like they’re smiling! These two looked particularly happy when I saw them.
And finally, I also met some recently shorn alpacas (Jem and I also share a mutual love of alpacas) who were very inquisitive and full of character.
Aside from the animals, I was struck by how friendly everyone was – people genuinely seemed to be having a lovely time (despite the heat!) and it was lovely to meet the people that visited our stall to chat to Jem and I (mostly to Jem).
It was a long few days with set-up on the Thursday, two full days of the show and then the mad rush to pack everything up at the end, but we stayed an extra night (Cumbria is a beautiful part of the world, after all) and had a little explore before heading home.
If you were at Woolfest this year then I hope you had a great time, and if you haven’t been before then I’d say it’s definitely worth a visit!