A YORKSHIRE Dales institution has been abandoned in its landmark year - and two other agricultural shows have been cancelled.

The 50th annual Tan Hill Swaledale Sheep Show, the premier gathering in the dales for top breeders, was due to be staged in Arkengarthdale on May 31.

But the secretary, Mr Raymond Calvert, confirmed the show had been cancelled for the first time in its history.

"Everything is at an utter standstill," said the 38-year-old, who farms 700 hectares of moorland in upper Swaledale.

"We are very disappointed. There are quite a few farmers who have Swaledales who are having losses. There's at least one batch of good tups which will have gone."

He said another farmer he knew had lost sheep because his farm was next to one where the infection was discovered. "He is absolutely devastated," said Mr Calvert, of Hoggarth's Farm, Keld. "It's just horrendous. You see it getting nearer and nearer and you just don't know what is going to happen."

Organisers of North Yorkshire County Show have also announced its cancellation as has Malton show.