A new book looks at the history of Kilnsey Show. Lesley Tate tells the story behind it.

MEMORIES, facts and figures about the Kilnsey Show have been brought together in a new book supported by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund (SDF).

The fund gave a grant of £4,850 towards the total cost of the Upper Wharfedale Agricultural Society project to produce the book, Studs and Crooks: The hidden history of Kilnsey Show.

The playful title refers to the studs on the shoes of the fell runners who tackle Kilnsey Crag each year and the crooks of the farmers who bring their livestock to the show.

Also included in the project is an online learning resource about the history and cultural heritage of the show that will be made available as part of the archive materials held at the Authority-owned Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes.

Carl Lis , the authority’s chairman and member champion for sustainable development, said: “For centuries, agricultural shows have played a vital role in bringing farming communities together. They are a key feature of the national park’s events calendar – attracting visitors and much-needed revenue from far and wide.

“Kilnsey Show is one of the largest and oldest in the national park and this valuable project has collated stories, photos and memories of the event and the local community for future generations to enjoy before they are forgotten.”

The fully-illustrated book was the impetus of Jamie Roberts, whose family have farmed at Kilnsey for four generations. It is written by Craven author Victoria Benn, who has a personal connection to the show – her father Roger Ingham has been organising the sports since 1959.

Jamie, who runs Kilnsey Park Estate, said: “I grew up in the shadow of Kilnsey Crag and the show was as exciting as a second Christmas for us.

“Everyone has a memory or story about Kilnsey Show but very little has been written down. It was clear to me that we needed to capture the show’s rich history now or it would be lost forever.

“It’s important that the book celebrates this extraordinary event and those who make it happen, so that a new generation can be inspired to take up the reins and maintain the proud traditions of Kilnsey Show for another 100 years and beyond.

“Our project to record this piece of Dales cultural heritage wouldn’t have happened without funds from the Sustainable Development Fund, so we’re grateful for the support.”

The book was launched at this year’s show by special guest, Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire.

Studs and Crooks: The hidden history of Kilnsey Show is published by Tickled Trout Press and costs £12.50. It can be ordered by emailing show@kilnseypark.co.uk