Out There column

Country Fest at Crooklands was packed with people.

Country Fest at Crooklands was packed with people.

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Interest in all matters concerning the countryside has burgeoned in recent years.

I can say this with conviction as for the last few years I’ve visited many countryside events and I’ve seen them grow at an exponential rate.

Two such events took place over the border in Cumbria at the weekend.

Country Fest, one of my favourite rural events, took place at Crooklands near Kendal. It featured a huge number of exhibitors, including businesses from the Lancaster and Morecambe area.

As usual it was a laid back and fun show with producers from across the North West.

I’m a dog lover so it was a treat to see the terrier racing on the show field. The tiny terriers were going bonkers before they were released to chase after an artificial lure.

One or two of them ran off in the wrong direction causing onlookers to roar with laughter. A cheeky little chap even cocked his leg against an unsuspecting member of the crowd.

Shows such as Country Fest offer craftspeople an opportunity to sell their wares. I came across a cute vintage caravan that a designer had transformed into a mobile craft shop.

Sparky was looking the other way so I managed to buy some bunting for our caravan without the usual cries of: “You’re not buying that!”

After an enjoyable couple of hours of watching displays including sheep shearing and sheep dog trials we headed over to the Holker Garden Festival at Cark-in-Cartmel.

When we arrived hundreds of vehicles were packed into the grounds of the Holker Hall estate. Like Country Fest it had a large number of stalls run by all manner of rural businesses.

As a keen gardener, it was a massive treat to explore the horticultural marquees and search for unusual plants for our garden back home. We particularly admired an exhibit featuring exotic carnivorous plants. If you fancy something a little out of the ordinary, pay a visit to the Appleby Horse Fair which is on from June 5 to 11.

We’ve been to this celebration of the Gypsy and traveller lifestyle on several occasions.

Every year the men wash their horses in the beautiful River Eden; an incredible and timeless sight.