It was very nearly a clean sweep for the ladies in the cattle rings at yesterday’s Royal Highland Show with 12 out of 13 championships taken by cows or heifers.
One of the most prolific was the Simmental champion from the Green family, Corskie Farm, Fochabers, who were out in force with their team of cattle and were collectively delighted to take the supreme with their home-bred seven-year-old cow with twin calves at foot.
Shown by newly-weds Laura (Green) and Robert Beattie, Corskie Disco by Islavale Sabre impressed the judge, Stewart Stronach of Keith, who said: “This cow is exactly what I want; a seven-year-old rearing twins, she is a great advert for the breed.”
North-east breeders also took reserve in this section; brothers Andrew and Reece Simmers from Backmuir, Keith, bought the two-year-old Sterling Fcuk Impuls by Sterling Gino in February at Stirling for 13,000gn and were showing her for the first time.
Major David Walter and his son, Nick, along with herd managers Davy and Tracey Nicoll also had reason to celebrate when their home-bred heifer took the Charolais championship in this, their 50th year of breeding Charolais cattle.
Balthayock Nessie, a two-year-old by Dingle Hofmeister was fresh from her interbreed success at Alyth show last week and will take pride of place at the birthday party at the farm near Perth later this year.
For the first time at the Highland Show a heifer took the Highland cattle championship two years in succession. Skye of Little Rannoch, a three-year-old in-calf by Fearghus of Balmoral, was retired after last year’s show by her owners, Donald, Brian and Malcolm McNaughton and Argyle Lawrie, who all hail from Kelty. However, they decided to bring her back out this year and were thrilled to win again.
The largest section at the show this year was the Shorthorn, with 110 entered and the champion was a heifer from Tom McMillan of Rothesay brought out by Richard and Carol Rettie of Methven.
Trowbridge Tessa Linsay by Tamhorn Glen was bought two years ago at Carlisle and was champion at Stirling on her only other outing.
A yearling heifer went all the way in the Aberdeen-Angus section to take the championship for first time exhibitors, Martin McCornick and daughter Gemma from Newton Stewart. McCornick Keira by Skaill Dino caught judge David Evans’ eye as soon as she came in the ring and he said she displayed exceptional breed characteristics.
Meanwhile, in the sheep lines it was a particularly enjoyable day for Auchnagatt-based sisters, Eilidh and Erin Duncan, who led the Charollais section with the home-bred gimmer, Braemuir Diamond. The pair established their flock in 2009 and now run 20 ewes at the family farm, Braemuir.
Also achieving their best result at Ingliston were Rachel and Calum Cruden, who run the sheep side of Calum’s family business at Standing Stones, Dyce, Aberdeen.
Going one better than their reserve accolade last year, they secured the championship in the Bleu Du Maines with Dunelm Pippa, a one-crop ewe from their 12-ewe flock.
The commercial section was won by a half-bred gimmer from Fettercairn’s Iain Wilson, of Upper Coullie, his first red ticket at the Highland.
Stewart Craft, of Leslie, Fife, had a successful day in the Suffolk ring, taking the championship with a two-crop ewe which he bought alongside the entire Lakeview flock last year.
He brought four sheep to the show and managed to collect three first prizes.
Also from Fife, Sandy and Alex Watson triumphed in the Border Leicester section for the fifth time in nine years.
Their best this time was a five-crop ewe, one of 24 in the Intock flock.
And, echoing last year’s result, Arbroath-based arable farmers Willie and Edith Crowe won the top title again in the Jacobs, with the same sheep, Rowanbank Hector, now a two-shear.
Winning both champion and reserve in the hotly contested Blackface section was the Ramsay family of Milnmark, Dalry, with home-bred females.
The Ramsays, who run a total of 2,000 ewes, have won the breed championship several times over the years, but not since 2011.
Noticeably missing from the sheep rings this year was chief sheep steward and Highland Show director John Hamilton, who sadly passed away earlier this year.
A minute’s silence was held prior to the Blackface judging to mark this, and the Hamilton family presented a cheque for £6,250 to the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RSABI), which was collected at John’s funeral service.