by Penny Lally Yet another busy year for our club. On Valentines day we met up with the South Devon club for a meal and a game of skittles proving as popular as ever with a great deal of friendly rivalry.
In May, Viv Hall and I went to the Devon County show. Viv won with her young cow and calf which was handled later in the Junior Handlers Class by John May’s son Andrew. He won his class and went on to be Reserve Champion Young Handler. My bull Corskie Radium won and was Breed Champion. He then went on to win the Interbreed Pairs with the Mills’ cow Lavender, and also Supreme Beef Champion; I believe it is quite sometime since a Simmental had the honour of leading the parade (even though the red mud was ankle deep thanks to much rain and the Royal Artillery!!)
The Royal Cornwall enjoyed hot weather and huge crowds. We had a reasonable show of Simmentals but we need more to keep the classes going. Our Judge Roger Birch sampled Cornish hospitality as did the Interbreed Judge Billy MacPherson. Corskie Radium was Breed Champion and just missed doing the double by being Reserve Interbreeds Champion. Viv Hall, Kevin Hawke and James Berry are Cornwall club members who were prize winners. We were pleased to welcome a Welsh invasion in the form of Gethin and Enfys Lloyd. Their bull won his class and went on to be sold at Perth in October for £8,000!! I think they enjoyed their visit to the friendly show. Our club stand was a success once again being a place to sit and chat having a cup of tea and a piece of cake. Thanks to Heather Parr and all volunteers especially Charlie Harris who gives up his precious free time to help put the stand together. The stand is an ideal opportunity for any members to advertise their herds.
In July we hired a small bus and went on a visit to the Priorton herd of John and Katrina May. We arrived on a beautiful day to be greeted by the family in their walled garden for coffee. We were then shown the free range chicken enterprise where the birds are raised from chicks to a certain weight when they are collected by the Lloyd Maunder chicken catchers!! The fully automated system was most interesting. We then climbed on trailers to see the cattle. They all looked well in the sunshine as did the herd of Ruby Reds. This was followed by a wonderful lunch. We then got back onto our bus and went off to Dartmoor to visit John and Dianne Jordon’s farm.
This was a fascinating insight into the special lifestyle and knowledge needed to farm on Dartmoor. We saw South Devons and Galloways with the most amazing views as a backdrop, wonderful on a sunny day but harsh in the misty winter. We were shown prize Texel rams and stunning Dartmoor pony stallions followed by tea, a lovely day out, enjoyed by all.
In August we had our usual evening herd visit and BBQ. This year it was at the farm of vet Andrew Parker who is new to our club. He showed us his collection of cattle including two Gloucester cows and a Limo bull (we will have to sort that one out!!) We had a brilliant evening enjoying our walk around his farm and then were treated to a superb BBQ. Much thanks to him and his family.
In September we organised a trip to the other end of the country from us, Scotland. We visited the herds of; Blackford, Corskie, Delfur and Drumsleed, and also a visit to Glen Grant Whiskey Distillery. We had a magnificent trip, busy but enjoyable. We saw terrific cattle and amazing scenery, this is how it went;……………
We thought we’d go to Scotland to see how things were done
We like a trip away, a chance to have some fun This year we’d fly from Bristol, this choice we had to make For Newquay in the fog is a risk we could not take!
A dozen Welshmen joined us, keen to come along (with Cornishmen and Welshmen, we might even get a song) Our first call was to Inverness, the Blackford herd to see Such awe inspiring cattle, followed by some tea Billy and his family, masters of their trade Quiet and charming people, well ahead, it must be said
Next day was a full one, Corskie our first stop Big strong cattle everywhere, we were like kids in a sweet shop Fields of lovely females, rows of bulls for Perth We’ll follow them with interest to see how much they’re worth Ian Green arranged for us, to go, after our lunch To Glen Grant Whiskey Distillery, this motley ‘Celtic’ bunch **we toured around with interest, sampling with some glee Then met up with our next host, the Delfur herd to see So many, many Simmentals in fields of luscious green And the most amazing scenery that many of us had seen Douglas Barr, the Delfur manager, took us ‘round the huge estate His enthusiasm catching, so we did not leave till late Field after field of cattle in groups of fifty plus We could fill a lorry to take some home, the most of us The stockman, Jim, was jolly, laughed and chatted well But what he actually said, none of us could tell!! A super tea then followed, the boss, Edward was there A lovely afternoon, nearly dark when we left there We were then to drive to Aberdeen, some then lost their way We were getting tired and teasy trying to find our place to stay We all turned up, exhausted, had a meal then tried to sleep And lay there counting Simmentals instead of counting sheep
The weather had been perfect, but the rain came down next day Then, a drizzly drive to Drumsleed on our final day away The Smiths were very welcoming, and showed us ‘round with pride The enormous admiration for their beasts, we could not hide Yet more magnificent females and young bulls looking grand No wonder Scottish cattle are admired throughout the land
We sadly had to leave, to Edinburgh to drive home Our happy convoy heading south without a single moan The Welsh and Cornish clubs were treated to a feast Of endless, super Simmental, those most beautiful of beasts The Scottish hospitality and stockmanship supreme Sent us home, our eyes opened to try achieving what we’d seen **p.s. Glen Grant will be remembered for more than just one drink Some of us will know, what I mean, I think!!
In October the East Anglian club visited us. The Hurns, the Filbys, the Clements, the Smiths and Dennis Mitchell were given a tour of the delights of the far South West. They visited 5 Simmental herds, 1 Ruby Red Devon herd, and 1 Aberdeen Angus herd. They saw the stunning outdoor Minack theatre on the cliffs at Porthcurno, wandered around St. Ives like tourists and learned all about the perils of tin mining by going into Geevor tin mine (slightly claustrophobic it must be said!!) We enjoyed showing off our special part of the country, being so very different to East Anglia with fields as big as some of our farms with our small enclosures.
We are always happy to show any other clubs around, it is a good way to make more friends with the same interests and to exchange ideas. But, do remember, you need a passport to fly to Cornwall (or anywhere else in Britain) as Norman and Margaret Smith will tell you, they had to spend an uncomfortable night on Friday 13th travelling to Cornwall from Stansted on a coach as they forgot their passports!!
Our club decided to have our own herd competition for the first time this year which proved most successful. It was organised by Roger Pascoe and judged by Hugh Lello. It was great to see so many members taking part especially 2 new members, Kevin Thomas and John and Bridget Olds, who won prizes.
Results; Large herd 1. Viv Hall 2. Steve & Gill Gummow 3. James Berry
Small herd 1. Penny Lally 2. John & Bridget Olds 3. Jim Buckland
Best cow 1. Penny Lally (thanks!) 2. Steve & Gill Gummow 3. John & Bridget Olds
Pair heifers 1. James Berry 2. Penny Lally, 3. Kevin Thomas
Bull calf 1. Barrie Wynter 2. Viv Hall 3. Penny Lally
Commercial 1. Adele & Mark James 2. Viv Hall 3. Kevin Thomas
I have had the honour of being voted on to Council, I would like to thank all who voted for me and will do my very best to represent members, especially those with small herds, like myself. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if there are things you wish to be brought to the attention of Council. Remember, pass on the passion, and tell everyone how great Simmentals are.