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Judges announced for 2022 Royal Highland Show

Glenlivet breeder Michael Durno will judge the beef breeder competition and junior beef interbreed championship.
Glenlivet breeder Michael Durno will judge the beef breeder competition and junior beef interbreed championship.

A number of leading breeders from the north and east of Scotland have been confirmed as judges for this year’s Royal Highland Show.

Organisers of the show, which takes place at Ingliston near Edinburgh on June 23-26, hope to host the event in its full format after two years of disrupted or cancelled shows due to Covid-19.

The 2020 show was cancelled and a scaled-back live-streamed event was held in 2021, backed by £750,000 of Scottish Government funding.

“We are very much looking forward to welcoming back some familiar faces to the judging line up this year, with many of our judges returning after being asked to initially judge at the cancelled 2020 Royal Highland Show,” said Alan Laidlaw, chief executive of show organiser the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS).

RHASS chief executive Alan Laidlaw.

“Our esteemed roster of judges includes some of the best, brightest and most respected professionals that the livestock world has to offer, and I can’t wait to see them and our competitors in action in the show rings this June.”

Young Handlers

The judges for this year’s show include Limousin breeders and regular show-goers Sarah Jane Jessop and Dougie McBeath, who farm near Bannockburn, Stirling.

The pair will be tasked with judging the overall young handler section – a new category introduced at the 2019 show to select the best young handler amongst all the different sections.

Dougie McBeath and Sarah Jane Jessop will judge the overall young handlers championship.


In the beef section, the overall interbreed championship and interbreed teams contests will be judged by Welsh breeder Esmor Evans, who runs the Maerdy herd of pedigree Charolais cattle in Flintshire.

The native beef breeds interbreed teams championship will be judged by Audrey Anderson who runs the Panmure herd of Herefords at Easter Knox Farm, Arbroath.

Audrey Anderson will judge the native beef breeds interbreed teams championship.

The beef breeder competition and junior beef interbreed championship will be judged by Ballindalloch breeder Michael Durno, who keeps pedigree herds of Simmental, Charolais, Salers and Aberdeen-Angus, on the 2,700-acre Auchorachan Farm on the Glenlivet Estate.

Other beef cattle section judges include: Tracey Nicol from the Balthayock herd in Perthshire for the young handlers section; Ian Park from Fort William for the Belted Galloway section; Fife breeder Donald MacNaughton from Kelty for the Highland section; William McLaren from Auchterarder, Perthshire, for the Hereford section; Mike Massie from the Elrick herd in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, for the Limousin section; and Wilson Peters from Monzie, Crieff, Perthshire, for the commercial cattle section.

Wilson Peters will judge the commercial cattle section.

Meanwhile, the overall championship in the dairy section will be judged by Berwickshire farmer Jimmy Hodge, who ran the Lemington herd of Holsteins at Eyemouth prior to its dispersal in 2007.

The dairy calf and showmanship section will be judged by Michael Yates, who runs Eastford and Logan Holsteins with his family in Castle Douglas, Dumfries.


In the sheep section the overall interbreed judge is former RHASS chairman and chief steward of sheep Clark Stewart, who breeds pedigree Border Leicester, Suffolk and Texel sheep near Cupar, Fife.

The sheep interbreed pairs championship and young handlers section will be judged by Blackface breeder William Dunlop from Elmscleugh in East Lothian.

Turriff breeder Robbie Wilson will judge the Texel section.

Other sheep judges include: Gordon Mackie, Forfar, Angus, for Suffolks; John McClymont, Leven, Fife, for North Country Cheviots; Scott Robertson, Dufftown, Banffshire, for Jacobs; Mr M Cook, Halkirk, Caithness, for North Country Cheviot hill-type; Robbie Wilson, Turriff, Aberdeenshire, for Texels; and Brian Ridland, Evie, Orkney, for Shetlands.


Judges in the horse section include an Australian couple – Colin and Karen Brown who run McMurchie Clydesdale Stud in New South Wales – for the Clydesdale males and Max Marriott from the Aarunga Stud in Victoria for the Clydesdale females.

Former Highland Pony Society president Marguerite Osborne – a third generation breeder of the na Dailach stud in Kirriemuir – will judge the Sanderson Trophy. This is awarded to the overall champion native Scottish horse or pony.

Sylvia Ormiston will judge the St Johns Wells Trophy.

In the light horse section, the prestigious St Johns Wells Trophy will be judged by Sylvia Ormiston MVO, who runs the Queen’s Balmoral Highland Pony stud at Ballater, while Nigel Hollings from Lancashire will judge the HOYS supreme in-hand championship.


The dairy goats, kids, milking and Boer goats sections will be judged by Margaret Hardman, who hails from Sheffield in Yorkshire.

An experienced competitor, Ms Hardman is currently the vice-chairman of the British Goat Society’s committee.

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