The Wasdale Shepherds Meet took place on October 12 this year, so we decided to look back into our archives to see what the event looked back through the event as it happened five years ago.

There has been a “Shepherds Meet” at Wasdale Head for over 100 years, little is known of the early years.

It is believed that the “Shepherds Meet” started off with farmers from Wasdale meeting the farmers from the adjoining valleys of Ennerdale, Buttermere, Borrowdale, Eskdale and possibly Langdale, who walked their tips (rams) over to Wasdale Head to trade them, swap them or hire them.

This is why the show is held so late in the year, Tip Lousing (letting the rams loose with the ewes) in the valleys being in November so lambs being born in April. In all probability the showing of sheep also started in the early years and possibly also the showing of shepherd’s dogs, Hound Trailing would also have been introduced in these early years.

There were no Shepherd’s Meets or Shows in WW2 and in 1947 The Wasdale Head Show and shepherds meet restarted in its current location.

With farmers having motorised transport, the practice of walking sheep to the show soon all but died out but this also made the Show more accessible and therefore it started to grow. Cumberland and Westmoreland Wrestling and the Fell Race would have been introduced soon after WW2 and at this time the traditional singing took place in the dining room at The Wastwater Hotel (Now The Wasdale Head Inn).

Children’s sports were introduced in the 60’s, soon followed by classes for none working dogs as well as the terrier racing.

More Trade Stands starting making appearances and what was once a shepherd’s meet became the show it is today with the latest two major changes being the “The Craft Barn” (to give traders somewhere dry to set up their stall in times of inclement weather) and the introduction of the vintage classes.

All of this has broadened the appeal of the show and what was once a simple gathering of farmers is now a great family day out.