The magnificence of the silver trophy awaiting the beef interbreed champion at the Royal Highland Show matched the scale and dominance of the impressive Charolais bull which strode away with the title.
The worthy recipient of the new Fletcher McDiarmid trophy was the Charolais bull owned by David Stubbs of AJR Farms at Ellon.
The six-year-old sire, Maerdy Morwr, which is Welsh for sailor, was bred by the judge, Esmor Evans, so the umpire, David Leggat, had to step in for the final placings in the championship, which had 13 animals forward.
Mr Evans, who said he hadn’t seen Morwr since he sold him for £25,000 at 15 months of age, described the sire’s power, mobility and “fantastic character”.
“I picked him, but couldn’t place him, but David Leggat was of the same opinion. It was down to his decision in the end, so the judging was transparent,” he added.
This is the first time the Fletcher McDiarmid trophy has been presented, but the silverware is 180 years old, and has been stored in the attic at Mains of Murthly near Aberfeldy for at least 60 years.
Farmer John McDiarmid donated it to the show society to mark the event’s bicentenary and a competition which is one of the highlights of the week.
It’s an extravagant piece, depicting livestock on the top as well as curling brooms, Highland games hammers, tartan and claymores. It was hallmarked by the crown jewellers, Garrards of London in 1843 and presented to the McDiarmid and Fletcher families by a group of Australians to represent all they had seen on a tour of Scotland.
It was an emotional win for renowned stockman, Andrew Reid who produced and exhibited Morwr. He had brought him out in memory of his wife, Sarah, who died of Covid in November. It was his fourth Charolais championship at the Highland but his first interbreed award, and the culmination of a long-held ambition.
Earlier, the junior interbreed award went to the reserve champion Limousin, a bull from Graham Morrison. Deveronvale Razzle Dazzle was sold to Steven Wilson at Carlisle in May for 24,000gns with the understanding it could be shown at the Highland first.
The interbreed team of four also went to the Limousin, which included the champion, Pabo Procters from A W Jenkinson Farms, Penrith, alongside one of their cows, Whinfellark Marilyn, another cow from the Grahams at Burnbank, Stirling – Burnbank Ruby Tuesday – and a heifer from the Illingworths, Dumfries, Glenrock Redruby.
Over in the sheep rings, the Charollais champion led the way in the interbreed contest, tapped out by judge, Clark Stewart, of Kininmonth, Cupar.
Triumphing over an impressive line-up of 28 breed winners, the gimmer, named
Loaningfoot Wa Wa Wee, was shown by Ben Radley, who farms with his father, Scott in
This was the first show outing for the home-bred animal, a daughter of Logie Durno Ultimatum, which was bought jointly at Worcester in 2019.
She was an “outstanding” winner, according to Mr Stewart.
“She hit me as soon as she came into the ring,” he said.
“She has a lot of substance, but for her size, she is still very sweet.”
For reserve, Mr Stewart opted for the Dutch Spotted winner, on the breed’s debut at
the show. That was Tip Top Diana, a one-crop ewe from Ali Jackson and Hannah Sloan’s flock at Cummertrees, Annan.
Providing an early wedding present for the couple, who are due to get married next weekend, the ewe is by Tip Top Charlie and out of an imported ewe.
Mr Stewart praised her carcase, saying: “She handled very well, but had that feminine
quality too, which is very important.”
Standing third in the final line-up, was the traditional Bluefaced Leicester, a shearling
ram from Alan McClymont, Kirkstead, Yarrow. He was bred at Bonvilston and bought at Kelso Ram Sales