The Royal Highland Show, being held next week, is one of Scotland’s largest and most enduring events and celebrates its 175th anniversary this year. This iconic display of the best in farming, food and rural life begins its four-day run on Thursday, at the 280-acre site of the Royal Highland Centre at Ingliston, near Edinburgh.
Although it is primarily an agricultural event – and one of the best of its kind in Europe – the Royal Highland really does have something to interest people of all ages, backgrounds and tastes. RBS has supported the Royal Highland Show since 1981, meaning the partnership is 35 years old this year. Without this support, the show would not be what it is today – contributing £47.1million to the Scottish economy last year.
To give you an idea of just what this iconic event is all about, we’ve drawn up a list of five key draws to the event which is attended by more than 178,000 people last year:
The finest examples of pedigree cows, sheep, goats, horses, donkeys – even poultry – are on display at the event, judged by the some of the most experienced professionals in the industry.
Imagine it as the World Cup of agriculture and, like the World Cup, competitors take winning extremely seriously. A first prize at the Royal Highland, or a “red ticket” as it is known to the pros, is the most highly regarded accolade in livestock exhibiting.
The food and drink section at the Royal Highland Show equates to the largest food and drink event in Scotland.
More than 115 producers, offering everything from botanical gin from Fochabers to artisan cheese from Orkney, will feature as part of Scotland’s Larder Live in the Lowland Hall.
The Royal Highland Show is the only food event in Scotland that links together the farmer, the food producer and the consumer, educating showgoers about where their food comes from and highlighting the link between food and farming.
There is also a delicious range of food-to-go on offer and this year the show, in association with VisitScotland, has produced a map detailing where you can pick up some tasty food en-route to your next activity.
For some visitors, the agri-machinery section of the Royal Highland is a place to stand in awe as you take in the monstrous big machines on display. For farmers and manufacturers, it is the place to do business.
June is a fairly quiet time in the agricultural calendar, so the show represents an ideal opportunity to take the time to make some vital, and not so vital, purchases.
More than £72million of equipment is on display at the event, with big manufacturers such as John Deere, New Holland, Honda, Isuzu and Volvo choosing to attend themselves as opposed to the dealers, an indication of how important the show is for these industries.
Every year the Royal Highland Show welcomes more than 35,000 schoolchildren to the show, through its education charity, the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET).
RHET’s education centre will feature free, hands-on, educational activities, such as science experiments, cooking and seafood tasting, all run by RHET staff, volunteers and a variety of activity providers from some of the best educational teams in Scotland.
The best part – under 15s get in free to the show when accompanied by an adult.
As well as playing a significant role in supporting the Scottish agricultural industry, the Highland Show also has a much wider economic impact – £47.1million last year – and plays a key role as a forum to highlight and discuss some of the crucial issues affecting Scotland today.
The 2014 Show saw top figures involved in the Scottish Referendum using the event as an opportunity to promote their manifestos; and this year’s show will be no different, with the general election results still reverberating around the country.