3 August 2001

Show starvation swells ranks at a hot Game Fair

Shorts and sun hats were

the order of the day at the

gloriously hot CLA Game

Fair. Tessa Gates

and photographer

Jonathan Page joined the

thousands of visitors

A show-starved public turned out in force for the CLA Game Fair and raised not a moan against the long queues that built up as every vehicle was very thoroughly disinfected before entering Shuttleworth – Old Warden Park, Beds.

It was a show to remember for champion hedge-layer John Savings from Oxon. His exhibition of hedge-laying styles, worked on Bonsai hawthorn hedges just inches tall, caught the eye of the Prince of Wales who was fascinated by the hedging styles and Bonsai techniques John had used and spent 15 minutes discussing these with him.

There was plenty to enjoy for everyone from black powder shooting to the latest in sporting guns, working dogs in every guise from lurchers to hounds, casting classes in fly and coarse fishing, and the opportunity to shop til you dropped – possibly from heat stroke – for just about anything from clothes to gipsy caravans, boots to a fantastic ocean-going power boat.

A popular workhorse – the Honda ATV – was attracting new interest on the Calor stand.

The companies have worked together with Edge Technology to produce a conversion kit that allows the machine to run on LPG. The claim is that gas power is clean, cheap and environmentally friendly and this has been put to the test by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds which has been trialling four machines on the Ouse Washes reserve, Cambs.

The bikes are used by staff caring for the cattle that graze the 1046ha (2615 acres) of wetland and the convenience of having a fuel supply on site – an LPG tank – has saved them time and an estimated £1000/year. The conversion kits cost around £500.

The hot weather didnt suit everyone but dogs at least found a way to cool off – plunging into the fishing lakes regardless of whether they were taking part in a water-retrieve or not. They gave new meaning to the "dog days of summer".