THE rain came down in torrents, but “the sheep were smiling” as a traditional show attracted people from across the region at the weekend.

Eastgate Sheep Show returned for the 33rd year to the Upper Weardale village and saw 48 farmers exhibiting their finest livestock.

The popular show featured 60 classes celebrating Swaledale, Leicester, Mule and other breeds, with exhibitors competing for £5,000 prize money and 30 trophies.

Paul Collinson, show secretary, said: “We were really pleased with the entries on the day, considering the spring that we have had. The quality of the sheep was amazing.

“Everyone got wet. but we are used to the weather. At the end of the day the sheep were smiling and everyone was happy. “

Prize money and trophies were given out in each category but it was Neil Marsden of Haltwhistle, in Northumberland, who scooped the prestigious Best in Show award with his blue-faced Leicester gimmer hogg.

The other winners were: Dick Dalton, of Cowshill, Weardale, who won the male Swaledale category; Christine Whitehead of Muker, Swaledale, who won the female Swaledale category, as well as Champion Swaledale.

Oliver Scown of Wolsingham, Weardale, won the blue-faced Leicester category and Neil Marsden of Haltwhistle took the crossing Leicester category, while Edward Moralee of Durham won the Textel champion category.

Ridley Craig, of Rookhope, earned a trophy for the any other breed category.

Activities such as the pet show and children’s games had to be cancelled because of the weather.