It was soggy and sodden underfoot but tens of thousands of people ignored the rain and had fun on the first day of the Royal Norfolk Show.
The showground was a sea of umbrellas and wellies were the fashion statement order of the day but the show went on.
Today is expected to be much drier and while parts are still a sea of mud, organisers are confident they would hit, or be close to, the predicted 80,000 visitors over the two days.
In spite of the weather, there was plenty to be cheerful about, especially for exhibitors and competitors from West Norfolk.
An early accolade went to the Saham Hall Estate at Saham Toney which won the prestigious Mills and Reeve Grey Partridge Award for its efforts to promote the recovery of the bird’s numbers in Norfolk.
Landowner Kevin Bowes and his game-keeper Andrew Taylor-Balls stepped forward to receive the silver partridge trophy.
Mr Bowes said that stepping up vermin control and improving habitats on the estate has seen a steady increase in grey partridge numbers and also helped other wildlife including the rare curlews.
Lower Farm, Harpley, was a runner-up.
Innovation was an underlying theme for the show this year and a Swaffham firm’s entry won a highly commended award on the Norfolk Farm Machinery Club stand.
DC Engineering, of Turbine Way, had submitted a multi-functional silage trailer with driven axles which is one of a range of Record machinery and equipment that it exports from Belgium.
Manager Derek Hawes explained that the design means it is gentler on the land and can operate in the most difficult of conditions.The company, the sole UK agent, has only been importing the brand since January and, although DC Engineering was established back in 2002 from scratch by Dean Clark, this was their first time at the show.
“It is an ideal way of showcasing the Record machinery and also our engineering and manufacturing services,” he said.
Norfolk Young Farmers Clubs had done some fabrication work of their own in a challenge to create their own working flour mill. The west of the county was represented by Terrington St Clement branch with a mill created by member Ollie Day from scrap metal, and by the Downham branch with a pedal cycle-power mill which earned them the runners-up prize.
Livestock classes brought the cream of horse, cattle, sheep, goats and pigs to the showground with West Norfolk exhibitors taking their share of the trophies and rosettes.
For some it was all about taking part – including 19-year-old Katie Butters who lives in Lynn and was showing the two-year-old black Shire horse Scotty which she only bought in January.
Katie works as a sales administrator and heavy horses are her hobby and passion. Scotty made his debut at the National Shire Horse Sow in March and has been competing on a regular basis since. He and Katie travel with friend Pip Read, from Upwell, who has other horses at the show.
Scotty had to settle for a fifth rosette but Katie said “He has won in the past and he behaved himself here which is what matters.”