Whose pies for a prize?

Cross-border butchers, Lancashire's John Whiteside, right, and Yorkshire's Mike Ward square up ahead this year's Great Northern Pork Pie Fest at Skipton Auction Mart. Attempting to keep the peace, centre, is Manorlands fundraiser Matthew Binns.
Cross-border butchers, Lancashire's John Whiteside, right, and Yorkshire's Mike Ward square up ahead this year's Great Northern Pork Pie Fest at Skipton Auction Mart. Attempting to keep the peace, centre, is Manorlands fundraiser Matthew Binns.
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Meat men and women from both sides of the border are preparing for the third annual “battle of the butchers” – the Great Northern Pork Pie Fest at Skipton Auction Mart later this month.

“While competition is keen between White and Red Rose pie-makers, the rivalry is friendly and it’s all in the best possible taste!” noted Craven Cattle Marts general manager Jeremy Eaton.

The contest is again being run alongside Skipton’s annual Christmas primestock show and sale, on Sunday November 27th, the region’s premier event for butchers seeking to source the best local beef and lamb for their customers’ Christmas tables.

Yorkshire butchers have to date ruled the roost in the Great Northern Pork Pie Fest, clinching supreme championship honours at both previous competitions.

Hinchliffe’s Farm Shop, of Netherton, Huddersfield, was victorious at the 2009 opener while last year it was Farmhouse Fare, in Skipton, whose Janet Green confirmed she’ll be back to defend her title.

However, Lancashire butchers are expected to mount a much stronger challenge this year in a bid to prevent the title remaining in Yorkshire for the third year running. Chatburn butcher Roy Porter, best of the Lancashire entrants in 2010, vowed: “We’ll be back, determined not to let Yorkshire have it all their own way again!”

There are standalone classes for traditional and stand pork pies, and speciality cold eating pies, with special prizes for the best pies from either side of the border. Mike Ward, of Stables Butchers, Keighley, past president of the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders, will head up a panel of pork pie aficionado adjudicators

Skipton-based Moule Media is sponsoring for the third year, while a giant charity pie will again be made and donated by George Middlemiss and Son Butchers in Otley. It will be auctioned off at the end of the day, along with award-winning and additional pies donated by butcher entrants. All proceeds are in aid the Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice in Oxenhope, near Keighley.