FINE weather brought the crowds to Malham Show on Saturday, making it one of the most successful in recent years.

Thousands headed to the showfield, set against the backdrop of Malham Cove, for a feast of traditional country entertainment.

"It is an excellent village show," said president Eric Hepworth, of Salterforth, whose father was born in Airton.

Guest of honour was Malhamdale-born Robin Hargreaves, president of the British Veterinary Association.

Mr Hargreaves told the official lunch that his year in office had involved briefing Government ministers, giving speeches in the Houses of Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont and even meeting former Queen guitarist Brian May to talk about bovine TB.

But he added: "The proudest moment of the whole year has been to come here and be among the people I grew up with. Malham Show is a fantastic institution."

Visitors will be able to relive the show as it was filmed as part of a BBC2 documentary about the 50th anniversary of the Pennine Way which runs through the village.

Researcher Lucy Smickersgill said: "We wanted to film a village show somewhere on the route and Malham was our number one choice."

The documentary - which is expected to be broadcast next spring - will be presented by explorer Paul Rose, whose travels have taken him to the remote corners of the world.

But he confessed: "Even though I live in Windermere, I have never done the Pennine Way before so it is a bit of an adventure. I love Malham Show - it is very friendly and pulls together different generations."

Out on the showfield, top honours in the sheep section went to Keith Wilson, of Blubberhouses, with a Dalesbred ewe.

"I enjoy coming to Malham Show as the quality of sheep is always good," he said.

The reserve championship went to a Mule from John Wilson and Janet Dunning, of Settle.

Janet said: "This is only the second time I have ever shown sheep - the first time was at Gargrave - and I just love it. It's great."

In the cattle section, dairy honours went to GW and M Coates, of Baildon, while the beef section was headed by JW Stephenson, of Bordley.

There was disappointment in the heavy horses with just one entrant - a mare, Phoenix Gemma, from Paul and Matthew Bedford, from York.

"I think the other competitors must have taken fright as she has already qualified for the Horse of Year in Birmingham and has been unbeaten all season," said Matthew.

But he added he would prefer to have competition. "It is better to come second in a class of ten than to come first in a class on your own."

There was plenty of rivalry, however, in the expanded whippet racing and the gundog displays also proved popular.

For show results and trophy winners, see the Dales Life section of our website.