THOUSANDS of visitors defied driving rain and road closures due to the UCI Road World Cycling Championships to visit the 7th annual Yarndale Festival.

Yarn enthusiasts from both across the UK and also from Canada and New Zealand joined the colourful throng at the weekend event, held once again at Skipton Auction Mart.

Instead of sheep and cattle, the livestock pens were transformed into a vibrant arena for more than 200 exhibitors from across Europe including The Netherlands and Hungary. Together, they brought a huge range of woolly wares to the show for visitors to admire, to explore and to enjoy. Inspiration could be taken from a vast mix of yarns, fibre, haberdashery, kits, books, handmade garments and artwork.

As usual, some very friendly animals stole the show - handsome Exmoor Horn sheep, rare breed sheep from Gam Farm in Grassington - including attention craving Viola and Shakespeare and Alpasta the Alpaca - and friends from Hart Farm, Hawkswick.

Throughout the weekend, visitors could try their hands at all sorts of interesting skills in the two workshop theatres.

Led by Craven artists, the workshops inspired many visitors to hone their technique or pursue a new found discipline. Local Guilds also demonstrated their craft including embroidery, lace-making and weaving.

There was also a wide range of street food on offer to tempt all tastes in the food hall.

New for this year a range of talks were introduced. Hosted in the ‘Scheepies Lounge’, ticket holders had the chance to hear a range of prominent people in the yarn craft industry such as Tatsiana Kupryianchyk, Helda Panagary and Dedri Uys.

Each year, organisers send out a call across the world for knitted or crocheted teddies, and this year they responded in their droves with more than 2,500 sent in.

The teddies will be used by the Mercy Ships charity, which delivers healthcare in some of the poorest countries in the world.

At the end of the show, and after much agonising, organisers finally awarded the much anticipated Best in Show Stand to Injabulo, specialist seller of fairly traded stunning African baskets. Organisers were impressed by the simply and beautifully arranged stand which incorporated the infrastructure of the pen to great effect.

Organisers said:”We are so pleased this event brings so many people together to enjoy such a fabulous weekend of creativity and sharing of ideas and skills. Huge thanks to all those who get involved to make it happen, many of whom travel so far to Skipton in this beautiful part of Yorkshire. Another great success, whatever the weather.”