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CLA Game Fair 2015: an English Country Weekend

Last weekend Yorkshire hosted the CLA Game Fair at Harewood House.  The CLA is the membership organisation for owners of land, property and businesses in rural England and Wales… in short, the CLA Game Fair is a country show for country folk!

Around 131,250 people attended the three-day event which returned to Yorkshire this year after 12 years!  We visited Friday and Sunday and loved every minute… here’s just a tiny smorgasbord (who still says that?!) of our experience.

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Horse and hounds display in the main ring

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The Grounds from the top of the helter skelter (which I enjoyed going down!)

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Possibly one of my favourite captures of the weekend

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The Game Fair was vast but not overcrowded.  We were able to wander and roam without feeling come the end of Friday, that we’d seen it all.  It was a combination of exhibitors and demonstrations… a kind of ‘for the people, by the people’, event.
There were all manner of exhibitors, from people who make clever ‘machinery devices for ramming poles into the ground’ and tractors, to gazebos’ and sculptures. Clothing, shooting, plants, finance, taxidermy… you name it, if it crosses the world of COUNTRY-FOLK it was there.
I discovered brands I did not know of, such as Em and Lu; gorgeous clothes and accessories for lazy days made with their self-designed fabric – I LOVED their prints!…

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Em and Lu PJ’s

CLA Game Fair 2015 32…and NGUNI Boots… if ever there was a (dare I say it) UGG rival, I’d like it to be this!

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The food we sampled was excellent… there was food EVERYWHERE which could be enjoyed quietly on the hill in front of Harewood House overlooking the Game Fair…
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…or besides one of the two rings which showcased various aspects of country life throughout the three days.

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Having attended a Press Day earlier in the year (see the fun I got up to here), I was aware that a keen emphasis for the organisers was for people to have-a-go and to try their hand at what may be a new sport for them.  I took Miss P kayaking which she loved… it was only afterwards I realised it had been her first time – thanks to Channel Kayaks for making it so easy!

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At the end of the day, we wanted a fun day out… and that’s exactly what we got – twice over!

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POST NOTES:

Naturally, the day will cost you, before any take-home any purchases, food and drinks and rides for one day, for two of us, was just under £50.  I didn’t mind as it was a planned couple of days out, but a family of four or five…would have quickly added up.  Of course, you can take your own food (and many did) but the price of everything just seemed a little higher than normal.
The organisation that had clearly gone into this show impressed me. Having run events on a much smaller scale of 2000+ people myself, I suppose it’s a natural part of what I notice when I go places.
Stand outs:
  • The fair had its own radio wavelength meaning that we were tuned in as we snaked our way along the roads to Harewood and listened as the overhead helicopter gave updates on traffic movement interspersed with throwback tunes such as S-Club 7.  Small thing but it gave a sense of inclusion, that you were being looked out for even before you’d arrived… and yes – we grooved along!
  • There was a shop and drop stand.  For those buying big, you could leave your purchases here till the end of the day – GREAT idea as the car park was quite a walk away.
  • VIP service in every way for those who desired.  Heli-pad, places to eat (Champers & Hampers), buggies… if you were looking to treat someone to a VIP experience, it was all there.
  • There was even a mini convenience store for basic supplies that people away for the day (or 4 if you were camping on-site) may need that you couldn’t get from the many exhibitors.

The CLA Staff in my humble opinion, did an EXCELLENT job!

 

Returning to Yorkshire: The CLA Game Fair (a fun Press Day!)

In just over three months time the CLA (Country Landowners’ Association) will hold their  57th annual Game Fair at Harewood House, Leeds.  Last week I was invited to the ‘Have a Go’ Press day to try out the various sporting activities that will be on offer over the three-day event.

It was the most fun!

The sun shone all day and we were treated to amazing hospitality to the extent that at this point I just want to brag on the CLA team who hosted the day… but as you guys won’t really care for that I’ll instead let you know about what you can expect to enjoy should you decide to attend the event (July 31st – Aug 2nd).

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Our day began through an archway, into the courtyard
Potential terror arises as the ‘mingle situation’ arises.
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Over coffee and bacon butties a super-lovely Charlie shows us a map of the grounds which opens my eyes to just how much of a huge event for Yorkshire this fair will be.

The CLA Fair is a ‘must’ event for rural enthusiasts, attracting 150,000 visitors and  800 exhibitors annually.  Twelve years since it was last in Yorkshire, the key emphasis is on getting families outdoors, experiencing country sports and celebrating UK rural life.  This year there will also be ‘The Great British Village’ featuring local producers contributing to the countryside.

Teamed with the best group (we were so enthusiastic!  Poor Rob from the Telegraph), we set off across the grounds to do ‘outdoor sporty things’!

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The professionals show us how it’s done! (Usually 1 man who completes the cut in 15 seconds)

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The Living North girls bringing it DOWN!

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Until you do this for yourself, you have no idea how much of a workout it is! (think this was timed at 1 minute 40 odd!)

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Sports visitors will be able to try this year include kayaking, archery, clay-shooting, fishing and STHIL Timber Sports.
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Game Faces

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Team CLA; Charlie & Charlotte, two of the super-hosts

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Was pretty much delighted to be Merida for at least half an hour!

 

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Did I mention the hospitality was amazing?

 

The day was rounded off with a gun-dog handling demo.  Aside from adoring black labs, I learned a thing or two about the sport and got to hear about The Estate Challenge.  This will be open to competing Estates who have ‘pickers’ of any breed, not just labs or spaniels (shooting speak that apparently country folk ‘in-to’ the sport will fully understand!)

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The outfits though…!

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The event spans three days.  As there will be so much to see and do, on-site camping is provided for those wanting to make a weekend of it.  Pitches are a generous 7 meters squared with luxury showers/facilities… this will NOT be Glastonbury.

 

There’s much more to could say but you can check out the CLA’s site for the full low-down here.  I for one, am definitely looking forward to going – heck I may even camp!

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