Record-breaking crowd figures at ‘incredible show’

Judges Patsy and Ian Hunter with the young handler winners
Judges Patsy and Ian Hunter with the young handler winners

Cattle floats, trailers and horseboxes were loaded up with hundreds of prize-winners and thousands of also-rans last night as farmers made their weary way home from a vintage Royal Highland Show.

A record-breaking 195,400 visitors got to smell, taste and savour the best of rural life over four sunny days at Ingliston. The gathering is estimated to deliver £65 million in economic benefit to Scotland.

Away from the action at the ringsides – where 1,101 cattle, 2,128 sheep and more than 2,200 horses competed for a share of £170,000 in prize money and 280 trophies – entertainment highlights included a highly praised celebration of Clydesdale horses, and 300 dancers performing an eightsome reel in the main ring.

The biggest food festival in the country in the Lowland Hall was mobbed from early each morning, there were rural crafts, a forestry arena, and award-winning displays by farriers and sheep shearers.

The Scottish Borders provided the presidential team, and the president’s initiative this year celebrated the area’s heritage and culture with events that included a recreation of the traditional Common Ridings.

Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland chairman Jimmy Warnock said the show was loved equally by those working in the agriculture industry and those who just enjoy seeing the best from farmers and food producers.

He added: “This has been an incredible show, as demonstrated by the record-breaking figures. What we offer is an authentic day out that is not manufactured, with the stars of the show the animals.”

A new young handler championship was introduced this year to recognise the best young stockman or woman across all species.

The competition was won by 12-year-old Katie Aiken Young, from Wray, Lancashire, and the reserve champion was Angus McGowan, 13, from Alyth, with his Scots Dumpy hen Katie Morag.