Listen now 22 mins
Tup fairs in the Lake District were traditionally the time when farmers returned tups (rams) they had borrowed for the winter. They are a competition and social occasion, often the first outing after lambing, where young and old farmers get together to talk sheep and catch up on the gossip. Caz Graham reports from this year's Keswick tup fair, which focuses on Herdwicks. They are upland sheep, strong and sturdy, and many of the farmers who keep Herdwicks feel a deep sense of heritage and a responsibility to keep the breed alive. The proudest thing you can call a shepherd is 'a good stockman', and winning at a tup fair is one way to show your skill. At the Keswick fair one particular trophy is prized above all - and a certain Mrs Heelis (also known as Beatrix Potter), a well-known Herdwick breeder, was once the winner.
Presented by Caz Graham and produced by Rich Ward.