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Highland Show’s 200th anniversary celebrations kick off in North East

ARCHIVES: Aberdeen was the setting for the Royal Highland Show in 1951.

Images, films and documents from the Royal Highland Show’s archives are being projected on buildings across Scotland this spring to mark the 200th anniversary of the very first show.

The Royal Highland Show Illuminated roadshow will be at Haddo House on March 31 and the Eastgate Shopping Centre in Inverness on April 1 –and the organisers say everyone is invited along to watch.

The images will chart the show’s humble beginnings right up to the present day, from the early days when it travelled the country until 1960 when it became permanently located at Ingliston.


The projections last five minutes, and will be played 12 times between 7-9pm each evening. Entrance to the events is free.

In 1831 it was held in Inverness for the first time, when records show that a list of premiums were offered for Highland cattle, and in 1834 it was in Aberdeen when prizes were offered for butter and cheese for the first time.

A  poster for the Aberdeen  show in 1935

Queen Victoria won first prize in the two-year-old cow class at another Inverness show in 1874, and in 1876, the Aberdeen show saw the largest-ever classes of Aberdeen and Angus cattle.

It was held in Inverness for the last time in 1956 when 70,656 attended and in Aberdeen for the last time in 1959 when the Queen Mother was among the 177,712 visitors.


Bill Gray, the chairman of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) which organises the annual event, said the society wanted to do something special after Covid disrupted the farming sector’s big annual holiday.

“The Royal Highland Show Illuminated is the perfect way to give back to regional communities and the RHASS membership across Scotland and herald the return of the show,” he said.

“After two long years without a full show, we are going all out to make the 200th anniversary show the best one yet.

“The events will see a powerful and poignant portrayal of the show’s value and importance to Scotland’s communities.”

The impact and influence of the show on the sector is vast, not just economically, but culturally as it promotes the role of Scotland’s agricultural and rural industries to society at large and helps drive innovation in the sector through technical innovation awards.

A poster for the 1948 fin Inverness.

This year will mark the first full show for the new Members Pavilion which overlooks the main ring, and RHASS promise “exciting things” to be revealed ahead of the event.


Visitors are required to book tickets for specific days this year, and the organisers are advising those intending to attend to buy tickets sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile, RHASS members, who receive free tickets to the show, will be asked to confirm which days they’d like to attend in advance.

An email from RHASS containing further information about this will be sent out in April.

The Royal Highland Show will take place between June 23-26.

For more information and tickets visit

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