Entering the Ingliston showground without encountering traffic jams, queues, the usual crowds of 40,000 folk or even signs pointing the way, makes the Royal Highland Showcase an eerie experience.
There is no grandstand, no flags are flying and kist parties are sadly absent, but exhibitors, teams of camera crews and organisers totalling no more than 1000 people are scattered across the showground – and a vaccination centre is operating inside what’s usually a busy food hall.
Yet the organisers of the behind-closed-doors event have hailed the first day of the week-long effort to uplift the industry as a resounding success after thousands of people logged on from early in the morning to watch the live streaming of judging – and an unscheduled array of runaway livestock!
Alan Laidlaw, the chief executive of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS), which staged the event, admitted that above all he was relieved the concept which was devised just 80 days ago was working.
“We’ve pulled it together under the most difficult of circumstances so I’m really proud,” he said.
It was the first occasion the new £5m member’s pavilion, which housed the control room for the live broadcasts, was in action for an agricultural event. It involved 12 cameras and 150 pre-prepared pieces of content costing “hundreds of thousands of pounds” supplying four separate live streams broadcast globally throughout the day.
It was a blustery scene around the sheep rings where interbreed judge, Blair Cockburn selected the Charollais winner from the Ingram family of Logie Durno, Pitcaple, as best overall, from a strong line-up of MV accredited champions. Their leader was a one-crop ewe by Loanhead Talisman and out of a Nympton-bred ewe.
In the pairs championship, that ewe teamed up with the Ingrams’ reserve breed champion, Foxhill Vavavoom, to secure the inter-breed pairs title.
Reserve overall sheep was the Texel champion from Robbie Wilson, North Dorlaithers, Turriff. A home-bred gimmer from his 50-ewe Milnbank flock, she is by renowned sire Knock Yardsman and out of a ewe by Strathbogie Yes Sir.
Inverurie-based Alan and Ellie Miller, who keep 20 Beltex ewes at Midmar, secured the Beltex championship with Lurg Fern, a home-bred gimmer by Baileybrook Chief. She teamed up with the shearling ram, Clary Forkout, to take the reserve overall pairs title.
Roy and Jane McFarlane and Lorna Rennie, West Lecropt, Bridge of Allan, triumphed for the first time in the Hampshire Down section and the young handlers section was won by 14-year-old Finlay Shone, of Cheshire, showing a Zwartbles, while reserve place went to Gregor Milne (12) of Kennieshillock, Lhanbryde, showing a Suffolk.
In a strong show of goats, Monikie’s Gordon Webster and Gordon Smith, of Guildy Den, led the way with their show veteran, Guilden Erin.
In the cattle rings the native champion was shown by Northumberland Hereford breeders T&D Harrison. The winner was their three-year-old bull, Moralee 1 Rebel Kicks, and in reserve place were J & A Finlay, Blackcraig, Corsock with their Galloway champion, a senior female named Blackcraig Dora May U450.
The winner of the native pairs championship was the champion and reserve Aberdeen-Angus from Brailes Livestock from Gloucestershire and Donald Rankin from the Isle of Skye. In reserve place were the champion and reserve Herefords from T & D Harrison, Moralee, Stocksfield, Northumberland.
HM The Queen won the Highland championship with the two-year-old bull Gusgurlach of Balmoral, by Tomintoul of Glamis Castle and out of Bhadair Ruadh 44th of Balmoral. The reserve champion was Kevin Carnegie, Balrownie Farms, Brechin, with 16-month-old heifer Lynn 12th of Mottistone, by Eoin Mhor 17th of Mottistone and out of Lynn 6th of Mottistone.
The Lincoln Red champion came from Andrew Mylius, St Fort Farm, Newport-on-Tay, with a senior bull, St Fort Yeovil and he took reserve with a junior bull, St Fort Zulu.
Beef Shorthorn – Allan Jackson, Headlind Partners, Woodyett Farm, Lanark, with seven-year-old bull Dunsyre Horatio, by Langalbuinoch Barney and out of Dunsyre Lily 16th. Reserve – Allan Jackson, Headlind Partners, with three-year-old female Headlind Holly Nutmeg, by Tofts Atlas and out of Roadway Holly 10th.
Aberdeen-Angus – Brailes Livestock, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, with a heifer named Weeton Blackbird V519, by Rawburn Boss Hogg, and out of Blelack Blackbird T853. Reserve – Donald Rankin, Kilmaluag House, Duntulm, Isle of Skye, with 17-month-old bull Kilmaluag Lord Blackbeauty, by Water End Payton and out of Blelack Lady Blackcap.
Galloway – J & A Finlay, Blackcraig, Corsock, Castle Douglas, with senior female Blackcraig Dora May U450. Reserve – J & A Finlay, Blackcraig, with senior female Blackcraig Blondgen A898.
Highland – HM The Queen, Balmoral Estates, Ballater, with two-year-old bull Gusgurlach of Balmoral, by Tomintoul of Glamis Castle and out of Bhadair Ruadh 44th of Balmoral. Reserve – Kevin Carnegie, Balrownie Farms, Brechin, with 16-month-old heifer Lynn 12th of Mottistone, by Eoin Mhor 17th of Mottistone and out of Lynn 6th of Mottistone.
Hereford – T & D Harrison, Eltringham Farm, Mickley, Northumberland, with three-year-old bull Moralee 1 Rebel Kicks, by SMH King Size and out of Romany 1 Dawn. Reserve – T & D Harrison with heifer Moralee 1 Pippa, by SMH King Size, out of Coley 1 Pippa.
Belted Galloway – J & Z Kirk, Lowkirkbride, Auldgirth, Dumfries, with a senior female named Huntfield Twiggy. Reserve – Clifton Farm, Southwick, Dumfries, with a senior bull named Clifton Dougal.
Lincoln Red – Andrew Mylius, St Fort Farm, Newport-on-Tay, with a senior bull named St Fort Yeovil. Reserve – Andrew Mylius with a junior bull named St Fort Zulu.
Native cattle champion – T & D Harrison with their Hereford champion, three-year-old bull Moralee 1 Rebel Kicks. Reserve – J & A Finlay with their Gallowaqy champion, a senior female named Blackcraig Dora May U450.
Native cattle pairs championship – The champion and reserve Aberdeen-Angus from Brailes Livestock and Donald Rankin. Reserve – The champion and reserve Hereford from T & D Harrison.
Suffolk – Roy Hiddleston, Shawhead, Dumfries, with a home-bred gimmer from the family’s Irongray flock, by Eringal Hard Rock. Res – Roy Hiddleston’s ram lamb, by the 3500gns King Bally Crashball.
Hampshire Down – J and R McFarlane, West Lecropt, Bridge of Allan, with Lecropt Heather, a three-crop ewe by Lecropt Fraser. Res – Andrew Goldie and Louise Forrest, Lockerbie, with Maesglas Maestro, a two-shear ram by Maesglas Basil.
Texel – R Wilson, North Dorlaithers, Turriff, with a home-bred gimmer by Knock Yardsman. Res – J and H Clark, North Garngour, Lesmahagow, with a home-bred gimmer by Procters Chumba Wumba.
Zwartbles – Neil Millar, Woodhouse Mains, Lockerbie, with Joyfield Havanna, a gimmer by Milburn Sam, out of a Cynefin ewe. Res – NR and S Henderson, Whitehouse Farm Cottage, Stirling, with Aquila Jitterbug, a ewe lamb by Janetstown Hallmark.
Charollais – G and B Inglam, Logie Durno, Pitcaple, with a one-crop ewe by Loanhead Talisman. Res – G and B Ingram’s Foxhill Vavavoom, a shearling ram bought at Worcester last year.
British Berrichon – Ewan Burgess, Maryfield, New Abbey, with Criffel Venus, a home-bred gimmer by a Marshland sire. Res – Bryan Evans, Powys, with Gynin Taff, a three-crop ewe by Statesmans Solomon.
Bleu du Maine – Laine Daff, Greenside, Uplawmoor, with Greenside Trina, a home-bred gimmer by Maximum Obama. Res – Kenny O’Connor, Carstairs, with Skye Terminator, a shearling ram by Maximum Obama.
Beltex – Alan Miller, Midmar, with Lurg Fern, a gimmer by Baileybrook Chief. Res – A and J Campbell, Creetown, Newton Stewart, with Clary Forkout, a shearling ram by Smart Ass Dark Horse.
Border Leicester – Mary Laidlaw, Kennel Mount, Galston, with a two-crop ewe by Kilfin Kipling. Res – John Barrowman, Knockglass, Stranraer, with a four-crop ewe by Eildon Epic.
Blue Texel – Kevin Watret, Moffat, with Solway View Baby G, a three-crop ewe by a Corra sire. Res – Fraser Forsyth, Corra, Castle Douglas, with a home-bred gimmer by a Derg sire.
Goats – Gordon Webster and Gordon Smith, Guildy Den Farm, Monikie, with Guilden Erin, winning her fourth championship at Ingliston. By Guilden Blue and out of Toddbrook Elentari. Res – Gordon Webster and Gordon Smith’s Guilden Glory 8th, by Guilden Beckham.