Friday, June 19, 2009

Be Sure to Get Yourself to the Royal Highland Show!

The show is organised by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, an organisation of over 13,000 members. The 2009 Show will be held between 25-28 June.

Royal Highland Show preview: Stunning displays promised

12 June, 2009

This year’s Royal Highland Show, which takes place on June 25-28, is shaping up to be one of the best yet with a focus on all things Scottish and its largest ever display of livestock.

The Royal Highland Show, which is this year being hosted by Aberdeen Area, has received record livestock entries totalling more than 5,000 head of cattle, sheep, goats, horses and poultry.

Organisers are now faced with the task of fitting in nearly 1,000 cattle, 1,500 sheep and almost 2,000 horses.

Show manager David Dunsmuir says: “We have had an overwhelming response from exhibitors and, in some sections, we have too many entries to fit the stock accommodation available. We are now working on a solution.

“One thing is certain, the display of livestock will be stunningly impressive with the pride of British and Scottish genetics on show.”

As the focus of the show is Homecoming and celebrating all that is good about Scotland, Mr Dunsmuir adds it is appropriate the traditional breeds which gave Scotland its reputation for stocksmanship and breeding have increased their entries this year.

In the beef section, Highland cattle lead the way with 130 entries (91 last year) followed by the Limousin at 129 (124).

In addition, the Salers breed will be hosting its international convention at the show with entries in the Salers classes more than trebled to 67, from 21 in 2008.

In the sheep lines, the popularity of the Texel as a terminal sire is reflected in an entry of 237 compared to 190 last year. Beltex comes next with 187 and there are excellent entries of Blackface at 88 and North Country Cheviots which, with park and hill sections, total 139.

In the light horse section, where the show’s top prize, the Queen’s Cup, will be awarded, there are nearly 1,600 entries with Hunters Under Saddle and Coloureds sharing top billing with 153 forward. In heavy horses, there are 352 entered with Highland Ponies at 184.

Dairy cattle entries have yet to be finalised.

Best of the rest of the attractions:

•Aberdeenshire President’s Initiative – An “Aberdeenshire Village” in the Food and Drink Hall will showcase 18 North East food companies, plus chefs from local hotels and restaurants, promoting and demonstrating local food. Aberdeenshire exhibitors will be identified throughout the showground and there will be local arts, crafts and music.

•Renewable Energy. Introduced last year, this enlarged exhibit will feature more than 20 companies who specialise in wind and solar power, biomass and alternative energy sources.

•Food and Drink at the Royal Highland. The top exhibition of Scottish food and drink plus speciality foods from other areas, non-food ancillary products and cookery demonstrations with emphasis on the current trend “buy local, eat local”.

•Countryside Area – The seven-acre site incorporates a one-acre loch and stunning landscaping. Trade stands, demonstrations and events, reflecting a range of country sports and activities – gundogs, falconry, fly fishing, ferrets, terrier racing and sheepdogs. The Rural Marquee features traditional skills, from fly tying to wood turning.

•MacRobert Theatre – The purpose built sheep shearing facility. National pride is at stake in the Highland Shears Open competition. Look out for the haka when Scotland take on New Zealand in a shearing test match.

•Children’s Discovery Centre – Run by the Royal Highland Education Trust. This centre is a for the young visitor, either in an organised school party or with mum and dad. Hands-on activities help children understand more about the countryside, food and farming.

•Music – Classical Brit Award winners, the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards will be topping the musical bill at the Show. The pipes and drums of one of Scotland’s most senior regiments will be appearing on Friday and Sunday with music from their award-winning album Spirit of the Glen – Journey.

They top a musical programme embracing almost every sound from Scottish favourites the Alexander Brothers to the pan pipes, percussion and guitars of Kantarro from the Peru.

A winning Pony from the 2005 Show by Beth Maxwell Boyle

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