For a number of years, prior to the first show in 1865 a tup fair had been held at the Woolpack Inn, Eskdale for the hiring out of Herdwick Tups in the surrounding area. We believe the images in the gallery below are from the Tup Fair, taken probably in the 1920's judging by the vehicles on display.
It was the enthusiasm from these fairs that prompted the hill sheep breeders of that generation to form the Fell Dales Association, its aim; “to improve the Herdwick breed of sheep”. This statement can still be seen on our present day Catalogues.
Eskdale Show at the Woolpack - date unknown.
We acknowledge permission to use this image, given by the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society.
The Tup Fair is still held at The Woolpack Inn on the second Saturday in May.
The first show was held on 4th October 1865 at the Woolpack Inn. After 82 years, it was then moved down the valley to Bridge End, Boot for 17 years.
Eskdale Show at Boot c. 1956. Photograph courtesy of Joseph Hardman Collection
It moved for the Centenary Show to the foot of Hardknott Pass; Brotherilkeld Farm where it remained until 2001 when the show was cancelled for the first time in its long history due to the Foot and Mouth outbreak. On recovery from this devastating time the show moved down the valley and is now held near The King George IV, Eskdale.
Eskdale Show, Date Unknown. Photograph courtesy of Joseph Hardman Collection.