Widecombe Fair is always on the second Tuesday in September so, on Tues. 12th, DPA volunteers Derek Collins, Val Barns, Claude Williams and Keith and Berni Ryan fetched up at the showground quite bright and early. Berni and I aimed to be there before 8.30 am and the others were there earlier, because the gazebo was already up when we arrived. The purpose of our presence at the summer shows is several-fold. One reason is to fly the flag and talk to the public about the DPA, its origins in 1883, its aims and purpose, its participation in Dartmoor governance through contacts with the National Park, its participation in several partnerships, and its own long-standing conservation work, hopefully to attract new members. The other main purpose is to sell merchandise such as leisurewear, books, maps, bags etc to raise funds to support DPA activities.

 

The DPA gazebo alongside the Dartmoor Magazine stand

The DPA gazebo alongside the Dartmoor Magazine stand

 

The photograph above, taken about mid-morning, shows the DPA stand next to that of Dartmoor Magazine. The two stands often find themselves as neighbours at the shows.

 

This can only be Widecombe Fair!

This can only be Widecombe Fair!

 

As the caption above says, this show can only be Widecombe Fair, with the tower of St. Pancras’ Church, otherwise known as “The Cathedral of the Moor”, and the outlines of Chinkwell Tor and the more pointed Bell Tor as a backdrop.

Like all the shows nowadays, Widecombe Fair has its own web site and the page entitled Timetable of Events is always useful.

 

Pony judging

Pony judging

 

Another "self portrait" during a quiet period

Another “self portrait” during a quiet period

 

Parade of Austin Seven Motor Cars

Parade of Austin Seven Motor Cars

 

The Parade of Austin Seven Motor Cars was timetabled for 11.30 am.

 

The musical pony

The musical pony

 

One highlight was the Victor Pitts Dog and Ducks Demonstration, although they started with a small pony that played a horn etc. on cue, the main part of the demonstration was how a trained Border Collie can herd ducks – if you missed this, there is a short film of it on Youtube. He also gave some secrets as how the dogs are trained!

 

A lot of people watched the duck herding

A lot of people watched the duck herding

 

Aylesbury ducks, being penned by a sheepdog

Aylesbury ducks, being penned by a sheepdog

 

Uncle Tom Cobley was there, as ever

Uncle Tom Cobley was there, as ever

 

St. Pancras Church tower, with Honeybag Tor

St. Pancras Church tower, with Honeybag Tor

 

Children's event in the small ring

Children’s event in the small ring

 

 

Dartmoor Hill Pony Musical Ride

Dartmoor Hill Pony Musical Ride

 

The Hill Pony Musical Ride Display portrayed aspects of farming on the moor. I don’t remember the full story but some of the children were dressed to be flames that come into play during the annual swaling, when old vegetation is burned to encourage new growth for grazing for the animals.

 

A look in the beer and music tent

A look in the beer and music tent

 

Dartmoor Border Morris

Dartmoor Border Morris

 

Border Morris dancing Beardown Man

Border Morris dancing Beardown Man

 

Dartmoor Border Morris are based in Meavy. While I didn’t see all their dances (pressure of work, you know!) I do recall that they did one dance called Beardown Man, that you can see on Youtube, although the video doesn’t feature the Beardown Man seen in the centre of the photograph above!

 

Another pony event

Another pony event

 

 

Another photograph of DPA volunteers

Another photograph of DPA volunteers

 

 

Right, they want one with me in it, are we all ready?

Right, they want one with me in it, are we all ready?

 

 

A touch of class, from More Than Meets The Eye

A touch of class, from More Than Meets The Eye

 

 

Dartmoor Hawking

Dartmoor Hawking

 

The next section was provided by Dartmoor Hawking, a falconry experience.

 

A view of one of the falcons

A view of one of the falcons

 

 

Falconry on horseback, with a running commentary

Falconry on horseback, with a running commentary

 

 

Parade of Vintage Tractors

Parade of Vintage Tractors

 

I wish I’d had a tape recorder or notepad with me because the commentator had a chat with each driver about their machine and its history ….. a lot of information …..

 

Massey Ferguson

Massey Ferguson

 

Massey Ferguson

Massey Ferguson

 

I do believe that’s April Scott and June Smith, famed for their Devon dialect etc. Here they are on a BBC News web page and on a BBC Spotlight Facebook page.

 

Massey double plough

Massey double plough

 

One thing my father never let me do was to plough!  I could scuffle, harrow (with normal or chain harrows), roller, pull the trailer – but never plough.

 

Allis-Chalmers tractor

Allis-Chalmers tractor

 

The tractor above is an early Allis-Chalmers model

 

Early runners in the Uncle Tom Cobley Race

Early runners in the Uncle Tom Cobley Race

 

The photograph above is zoomed out to several fields away, trying to get a hand-held image of the early runners in the 3.45 pm Uncle Tom Cobley Race. This is where the runners are taken to some point up on the skyline in 4 x 4’s and then race downhill to be first back in the field, by any route they can find.

 

First man, approaching the tape, with company

First man, approaching the tape, with company

 

 

First woman, on the last stage - up the field

First woman, on the last stage – up the field

 

 

First woman home - well run!

First woman home – well run!

 

The weather was kind today, despite the forecast that we had seen. There was the lightest of rain droplets for a few moments at one stage but, all-in-all, we were lucky. We were also lucky to get packed up just after 5 pm. A lot of stalls did the inward disappearing trick as the crowd thinned out, but we had cards etc. on sale until the last moment. However, it rained heavily as we returned down the A38 to Plymouth from Ashburton.  It was a good day.