Roll on up for the Country Fair!

The National Museum of Rural Life is one of my favourite places for a great day out, so when I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Country Fair, of course I took it. On 3 September 2017 I therefore made my way to the Museum for a day of volunteering and to look at pretty much everything else that was going on.

I started my day at around 10 o’clock helping stall holders set up – this way I could have a first wee look at what would be on offer. What can I say? There were loads of crafts to try and look at. There was a felt artist, a willow weaver and a slate sign maker demonstrating their crafts and everybody was invited to have a go! With autumn just around the corner, this was a great way to get a little bit of inspiration for trying a new hobby.

Willow weaving demonstration at the Country Fair. © Ruth Armstrong Photography.
Willow weaving demonstration at the Country Fair. © Ruth Armstrong Photography.

There was even a temporary tattoo stand – if you ever fancied a tattoo of a tractor or other country inspired design, this was your opportunity. There was another very popular activity happening in the museum: farm animal selfie sticks. You could pick between sheep and highland cows, and once decorated and ready, there was a lovely farm backdrop you could take a selfie in front of using your finished selfie stick.

Smile for the selfie! © Ruth Armstrong Photography.
Smile for the selfie! © Ruth Armstrong Photography.

Oh, there was so much to do and to look at! I had a chance to stroke a tiny baby chicken, which couldn’t have looked more relaxed. There was a whole marquee full of chickens and ducks to look at. Have you ever seen a Silkie chicken? Imagine a big, beautiful fluffball with legs and a beak and you get the picture. In the marquee, you could also learn about bee keeping and local wildlife. And then there was a chance to meet Cool Creatures: meerkats, a skunk, an armadillo and a selection of reptiles. Two friendly handlers were there to tell you about the creatures and let you get up close and say hello to them.

Holding a duckling. © Ruth Armstrong Photography.
Holding a duckling. © Ruth Armstrong Photography.
Animal handling with Cool Creatures. © Ruth Armstrong Photography.
Animal handling with Cool Creatures. © Ruth Armstrong Photography.

And there were diggers! Small ones and loads of sand for the little people to have a go with. And larger diggers, real ones, and under instruction you could have a go at digging in one of the farm fields.

Having a go at digging. © Ruth Armstrong Photography.
Having a go at digging. © Ruth Armstrong Photography.

And that’s not all: a falconry display was there with a variety of spectacular birds of prey. I had never seen a Merlin falcon before but there it was!

Bird of prey demonstration. © Ruth Armstrong Photography.
Bird of prey demonstration. © Ruth Armstrong Photography.

A safe distance away from these amazing birds, the Scottish Ferret Club had pitched a tent and you could watch ferrets racing.

Ferret racing. © Ruth Armstrong Photography.
Ferret racing. © Ruth Armstrong Photography.

But it wasn’t just ferrets that raced! Oh no! One of the highlights was the pig racing – the farm’s own Saddlebacks and Tamworth pigs were chasing towards the finish line – something you certainly don’t see every day.

Pig racing. © Ruth Armstrong Photography.
Pig racing. © Ruth Armstrong Photography.

There were even sheepdog trials further up in a field and if you didn’t make it to that you also had a chance to see the dog and duck show, with Indian Runner Ducks herded by a dog!

Indian Runner Ducks herded by a sheepdog. © Ruth Armstrong Photography.
Indian Runner Ducks herded by a sheepdog. © Ruth Armstrong Photography.

Up at the farm there was an opportunity to try your hand at stock judging and get a rosette in return. There was a farrier at work, new calves and piglets to be admired and the dairy herd milking.

Farrier at work. © Ruth Armstrong Photography.
Farrier at work. © Ruth Armstrong Photography.

Yes, I had a great day volunteering at the Country Fair, and looking at all the happy faces I saw, I wasn’t the only one having a blast. Even the weather played along for quite a while! I’m keeping my eye on the event calendar and looking forward to the next day out at the National Museum of Rural Life!

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