BY all accounts, it was a grand do. In their hundreds they came - and not just from the farms and villages of Teesdale, but from "over the tops" in Weardale and what was then Cumberland and Westmorland.

But that was nearly 100 years ago, and, like the agricultural shows at nearby Middleton and High Force, the one at Langdon Beck, nestling in the heart of Forest-in-Teesdale, disappeared, seemingly without trace.

On Saturday, however, a band of dedicated locals are attempting to revive those memorable annual shows by staging an autumn Swaledale sheep show on that same showground, behind the Langdon Beck Hotel.

Farmer Neville Bainbridge, who is show chairman, admits it will be a bit of a gamble. But early indications - with 42 exhibitors putting in 350 entries - are that it will be a success.

"A lot depends on the fickle weather we have in this part of the dale at this time of year," said Neville, who will be indulging in his favourite pastime by taking part in a quoits championship at the show.

Neville is putting up the trophy and a £20 first prize.

Only a handful of old postcards, dated the early 1900s, give any clue to how big an event the annual Langdon Beck show was in the Teesdale calendar.

"We can't even find a trace of any of the trophies which must have been presented to winners over the years," said Neville. "If anyone happens to come across one, it would be nice to have it back at the show."

Retired farmer Brian Bainbridge (no relation to Neville), who has been appointed show president, can recall his father Thomas, known as Tom O'Banks, telling him as a schoolboy about the shows.

There was a lot more people living here in Forest and Frith in those days," said Brian, who is 75. "For a start the mines were still working.

"My father talked about the Galloway ponies that used to be on show. They used to be trotted from the field to the bridge and back. Apparently, it was a grand sight."

He recalls when he went to school there were 80 pupils on the roll at the village school. Now there are just 18.

Forest and Frith has also lost a church and two Methodist chapels, while 57 small holdings have disappeared.

Brian, whose farm at Birkdale was featured in the ITV documentary Too Long a Winter in 1972, hopes the revival of the show will cement the strong community spirit in Upper Teesdale.

"I think my father would be very pleased to see it back again after so many years."

Brian, perhaps more than any other in the dale, is aware that the biggest threat to a successful show revival is the weather. During the winter of 1979 he and his family were snowed in at Birkdale, from Boxing Day until Easter.

Thankfully, snow is not forecast for Teesdale this weekend