VALLEY sheep men were to the fore at the Highland Show last week, writes Sally Gillespie.
They and other local farmers brushed off Thursday’s torrential rain to scoop top prizes.
Cheviot breeder James Irving at Mountbenger, Yarrow, took the breed reserve championship with the male champion, a two-shear tup, while Norman Douglas, Catslackburn, Yarrow, won the reserve female champion ticket with a ewe in milk, and John Hume, Sundhope Farm, Yarrow, took the reserve male championship with a shearling.
Local Salers breeders also did well, with Bryan Walling, Over Whitlaw, Selkirk, taking reserve with his 19-month-old bull Cumbrian Red Hector, which was judged the junior champion, best junior male and reserve bull of the breed. Mr Walling also took the best junior female ticket with his 21-month-old homebred Cumbrian Volute.
National Farmers Union of Scotland livestock committee chairman Rob Livesey who farms at Nether Firth, Lilliesleaf, also had a good day with his Salers, claiming both the female championship and reserve ticket with homebred cows Cleuchhead Mhairi 10th and Cleuchhead Gentle 8th respectively. He also won the best pair and best group of three.
Mr Walling was in the ribbons earlier in the day when his Lleyn ewe took the reserve best female.
There were celebrations over in Bowden, too, for Eriskay aficionado Lady Sanderson of Becketts Field who took the reserve championship in that breed’s competition with her homebred grey yearling gelding, Becketts Field Charlie.
Attendance figures at Scotland’s main agricultural show were down by more than 20,000 on last year thanks to heavy rain and mud.
Show manager David Dunsmuir said: “The horrendous weather on Thursday and Friday presented us with some real challenges, particularly car parking.”
Visitors eventually parked at RBS and Edinburgh Airport and were bussed into the showground over the weekend.
“Considering the amount of rain we had, the showground stood up remarkably well and despite the mud, the recent investments made on infrastructure such as roads and the main arena have paid off,” said Mr Dunsmuir. “Obviously, our gate income for 2012 will be affected, but with a full house of trade and other exhibitors, we want to stress that the Royal Highland Show is in a strong financial position and will continue to make a substantial contribution to the finances of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, allowing it to fulfil its charitable remit.”