The Turriff Show had a high-flying Royal visitor yesterday – to the delight of thousands of visitors.
The north-east agricultural event – the largest two-day event of its kind in the country – was into its second day of glorious sunshine as the Queen arrived by helicopter from Balmoral.
She toured the show’s food fayre, was presented with a hamper of local produce and even took part in Aberdeen and District Beekeepers’ Association’s ‘find the queen bee’ challenge.
After joining senior show officials for lunch, the Queen presented the show’s Champion of Champions award to M Bruce & Partners Ltd’s Balmaud Eclipse, a British Charolais cow.
The 150th Turriff Show was already set to a north-east celebration before Her Majesty’s appearance was confirmed.
But the visit of the monarch – the first to come to The Haughs for the annual event – added a richly-deserved gloss to the 2014 show.
The finals of the show jumping were well underway in the main paddock when the royal helicopter began circling overhead.
After landing out of sight, the Queen’s convoy of Range Rovers wound through the crowds and into the main arena where they were met by senior show officials including this year’s president Bruce Ferguson and his wife Kate.
By the time Mr Ferguson – the royal guide for the day – had led the party to the Food Fayre, huge crowds of jubilant show goers had gathered at each end of the marquee.
After she was treated to local produce from choclatiers and cheesemongers, north-east seafood company Downies presented the Queen with a hamper of goodies.
Factory manager Alan Stewart explained that it was not the first time his company had presented to the monarch, but that it was nevertheless an honour.
He said: “We brought together the hamper from north-east produce.
“It had some hot smoked salmon as well as smoked haddock, scallops and some of our famous Cullen skink.”
The procession made slow progress through the thronged mass of people between the Food Fayre and the craft marquee and in the midday heat the Royal standard hung limply from the bonnet of Her Majesty’s car.
In the industrial tent, the Queen took time to examine the beautiful floral display winners as well as the prize winning cakes, bakes and juices.
She also visited the Aberdeen and District Beekeepers’ Association stand were she was challenged by host David Findlater to ‘find the Queen Bee’ in their model hive.
Mr Findlater explained afterwards that the royal visitor politely looked but was unable to identify the hive mother.
He added: “She seemed pleased with what she had seen and it was very nice to talk to her for a moment.
“And for future reference, the queen bee is slightly larger, slightly thicker and has a slightly longer abdomen.”
From the craft show, the Queen was treated to a look at Scotland’s first Valais Blacknose sheep and their prize-winning young handlers.
Owned by farmer Raymond Irvine and Jenni McAllister, the Queen also met their children Adele, 10, and Johnny, 8, who were awarded 3rd and 4th best young handler respectively.
The 150th Turriff Show is part of the Homecoming and before lunch, the Queen was piped into the Homecoming Tent by Turriff and District Pipe Band Major Bill Hepburn, who played locally composed piece Farewell to the Creeks.
Come back to the Press and Journal website tomorrow for picture galleries and a special video of the Turriff Show from a cow’s perspective.
Here’s a quick preview showing our Online Editor Martin Little preparing Eric Mutch’s animal for the occasion: