There has been a Shepherd’s Meet in Wasdale for over a century. I think, prior to 2020, only one year outside the war years had been missed. And so it was that the ‘usual’ multi-field, multi-stall, razzamatazz of the ‘modern’ Meet was eschewed for a return to just a Shepherd’s Meet this year. I’m biased but I think the setting, and the simplicity of the day makes it the finest day out in England.

Men and women showing their Herdwicks in order to win one of a few prizes (first place got five quid and a rosette) …

The only two ‘side shows’ to the Meet were the racing of the Lakeland Trail Hounds across a mountainous swathe of the valley head (they chase an aniseed trail), a sport taken very seriously and one in which lots of money is placed on bets ..

and the BOFRA Kirk Fell fell race. A punishing out and back from the field in the hamlet to the summit of Kirk Fell and straight back. An ascent of 700m / 2100ft in little over a mile, followed by a leg hammering descent back down.

Perhaps it’s the setting, perhaps it’s the connection with the seasons, the connection with the animals, and with the movement of human and animals over the fells. Whatever it is, there is a peace, a friendliness, a seriousness, and a sense of fun about the day that sets it apart. Here’s to next year …..

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