It’s Show Time

The Oban Times - - Feature -

2017 is shap­ing up to be fan­tas­tic year for agri­cul­tural shows.

With its long, curved horns and tou­sled auburn coat adorn­ing many a short­bread tin, the hairy High­land cow is one of the most dis­tinc­tive and en­dur­ing sym­bols of ru­ral Scot­land, and amid all to­day’s talk of wilder­ness, it is an apt re­minder that this is also proud farm­ing coun­try, a fact that vil­lages and towns through­out the re­gion cel­e­brate with a sum­mer fix­ture, the agri­cul­tural show.

These events are the much-an­tic­i­pated fo­rum for se­ri­ous farm­ers to show off their care­fully- bred and - reared live­stock, from those High­land bulls and heifers, to sheep, poul­try, and even lla­mas, in the hope of win­ning prizes that are far more about rep­u­ta­tion than re­ward. They are also a much an­tic­i­pated so­cial oc­ca­sion, bring­ing to­gether vis­i­tors and res­i­dents of all ages.

Most shows in­clude com­pe­ti­tions in trade and craft cat­e­gories, from making jam and knit­ting, to carv­ing sticks and grow­ing veg­eta­bles, with the work sub­mit­ted on dis­play for the pub­lic to browse through­out the day. They are lively, good- na­tured events, but the com­pe­ti­tion is tough.

Agri­cul­tural shows are a high­light of the West Coast’s so­cial cal­en­dar. These events are im­por­tant for the farm­ing com­mu­nity, but they are also an en­ter­tain­ing day out for the fam­ily. They cel­e­brate ev­ery­thing to do with agri­cul­ture and the coun­try­side, and fea­ture the usual demon­stra­tions and judg­ing of farm an­i­mals, as well as pa­rades, music, arts, crafts, food and fun activities. Stalls of­fer local fare, pipe bands pro­vide the sound­track and the at­mos­phere is al­ways fes­tive.

As well as be­ing a chance to so­cialise with like- minded folk, ex­change views and news and maybe par­take of a dram or two, these shows have a se­ri­ous side to them. They are an op­por­tu­nity to show­case stock, add to their value if rosettes come their way and as­sess the com­pe­ti­tion.

Some shows are known for their sheep stock judg­ing, where the an­i­mals are brought off the hills, cleaned up and in­spected, talked over and ex­am­ined with great de­tail.

Fleeces are brushed and fluffed, horns are pol­ished and hooves cleaned be­fore they are turned into the ring where they are scru­ti­nised by not only the judges, but neigh­bour­ing farm­ers and shep­herds.

Other shows are known for their cat­tle, such as Dal­mally, where High­land cat­tle from folds all over the coun­try are brought for judg­ing in the hopes of tak­ing away the supreme cham­pion ti­tle, or Kin­tyre, where dairy farm­ing is so im­por­tant to the com­mu­nity.

Other shows are smaller, but no less im­por­tant to their com­mu­ni­ties, af­ford­ing a way to gather, show­case crafts, home pro­duce, bak­ing and let off steam af­ter a long win­ter.

West Ard­na­mur­chan Show and Sport Fri­day July 21

Enjoy a fan­tas­tic fam­ily fun day in beau­ti­ful sur­round­ings at Kil­choan’s well- estab­lished show and sports day. The agri­cul­ture show runs from 9.30am to noon, with all the main events start­ing at noon. At­trac­tions in­clude an all- day bar­be­cue and bar, the senior and ju­nior heavy events, ju­nior sports, chil­dren’s amuse­ments from 11.30am, the pet pa­rade and races, tug- o- war, stalls, bak­ing and hor­ti­cul­ture com­pe­ti­tions, senior and ju­nior road races, and the show dance which is on from 9pm un­til 1am with en­ter­tain­ment from the Dun­more Ceilidh Band. For more in­for­ma­tion, go to at http:// wes­t­ard­na­mur­chan­news. blogspot.com.

Kin­tyre Agri­cul­tural Show Fri­day Au­gust 4

Kin­tyre Agri­cul­tural So­ci­ety runs the an­nual Kin­tyre Agri­cul­tural Show on Au­gust 4, which has been go­ing strong for more than 100 years. Be­ing a strong dairy farm­ing com­mu­nity in Kin­tyre, this is one of the few shows in the area to have a strong dairy cat­tle com­pe­ti­tion. Held at An­der­ston Park in Camp­bel­town, the day in­cludes a pipe band, sheep, cat­tle and rare breeds judg­ing, tug- o- war and a dog show.

Bunes­san Show Fri­day Au­gust 4

The Bunes­san Agri­cul­tural Show on the Ross of Mull on Au­gust 4 is one of two agri­cul­tural shows on the is­land. And, while it may be smaller scale than some of the main­land shows, it is no less busy or en­ter­tain­ing, with a wide range of com­pe­ti­tions to cover all in­ter­ests. Held at Bunes­san school, there is stock judg­ing, as well as a full com­pe­ti­tion list for those with other in­ter­ests, in­clud­ing home­bak­ing, hand­i­crafts, gar­den­ing, pre­serves and a chil­dren’s sec­tion.

Lorn Agri­cul­tural Show Satur­day Au­gust 5

The Lorn Show will be held Au­gust 5, and has gone from strength to strength fol­low­ing a move in 2012 from Dun­staffnage back to Tralee beach, where com­mon graz­ing land is used to host the show look­ing over the mag­nif­i­cent Tralee Bay. Open from 10am to 5pm, this is a pop­u­lar show with both the farm­ing com­mu­nity and the sur­round­ing vil­lages and the en­tries into ev­ery­thing from the horse­man­ship com­pe­ti­tions to the dog show re­flect that. The morn­ing is given over to the se­ri­ous busi­ness of stock- judg­ing and the af­ter­noon sees ev­ery­one let their hair down a lit­tle, with stalls, light- hearted com­pe­ti­tions, chil­dren’s activities, danc­ing and a pipe band pro­vid­ing en­ter­tain­ment.

Salen Agri­cul­tural Show Thurs­day Au­gust 10

Held Au­gust 10, the Salen show is Mull’s sec­ond agri­cul­tural show of the year, this time at Salen show­ground at Aros and is one of the high­lights of the farm­ing year. Along­side the stock judg­ing, horse show, food and craft stalls, and dog show is the pop­u­lar ter­rier rac­ing and hor­ti­cul­tural and pro­duce tent show­cas­ing the is­land’s tal­ent. Vis­i­tors and lo­cals alike look for­ward to this fun day out for the en­tire fam­ily.

Is­lay, Jura and Colon­say Agri­cul­tural Show Thurs­day Au­gust 10

As the name sug­gest, this show draws com­peti­tors and vis­i­tors from the three is­lands to Brid­gend on Is­lay. This year’s show is held Au­gust 10, and along­side the stock judg­ing of sheep, pigs, cat­tle and horses, there is also a gymkhana, side stalls of food, crafts and other goods, a pipe band, dog show and plenty to keep the chil­dren oc­cu­pied. The céilidh dance in the evening is al­ways a pop­u­lar way to wind down af­ter the day’s events and usu­ally goes on into the wee hours.

Mid Ar­gyll Show Satur­day Au­gust 12

Mid Ar­gyll Show is a ma­jor event for the farm­ing com­mu­nity in the area with stock judg­ing of cat­tle, sheep, dogs, horses, ponies and poul­try. There is a dis­play of vin­tage trac­tors and a well- sup­ported pet show. And there will be a won­der­ful new at­trac­tion at this year’s show when four sets of coach and horses will be at the event. Mid Ar­gyll Pipe Band will play and the trade stands will fea­ture ev­ery­thing from gifts to heavy farm­ing equip­ment.

Su­nart and District Agri­cul­tural Show Satur­day Au­gust 12

Loch Su­nart pro­vides the lovely back­drop for Su­nart’s an­nual show on Au­gust 10 at Stron­tian show field, where stock judg­ing of cat­tle, sheep and poul­try takes place along­side crafts and home pro­duce. The show starts with a pipe band pa­rade, while around the show ring girls and boys will take to the boards for the High­land danc­ing com­pe­ti­tions. A spe­cial fea­ture of this year’s show will be an af­ter party dance fea­tur­ing Trail West. Al­ways a fam­ily- friendly and fun show, it is the high­light of the local so­cial cal­en­dar and a must- see for vis­i­tors to the area.

Ap­pin Agri­cul­tural Show Satur­day Au­gust 19

The set­ting for Ap­pin Agri­cul­tural Show has to be near the top of the list of the most pic­turesque, look­ing out as it does over Loch Linnhe to Cas­tle Stalker. Held on Au­gust 19, this is the Ap­pin Show’s 60th an­niver­sary This small but per­fectly formed show is renowned for its af­ter- show dance in the vil­lage hall, but dur­ing the day it is a fo­cal point for the com­mu­nity, with a good show of stock, in­clud­ing from the is­land of Lis­more, and a va­ri­ety of en­ter­tain­ment, from chil­dren’s sports and danc­ing to young farm­ers test­ing their strength.

Dal­mally Agri­cul­tural Show Satur­day Septem­ber 2

The fi­nal agri­cul­tural show in the West High­lands cal­en­dar on Septem­ber 2, the Dal­mally show at the vil­lage’s mart is known for its High­land cat­tle com­pe­ti­tions, with en­tries from all over Scot­land.

At this well-at­tended show, vis­i­tors will enjoy a wide va­ri­ety of at­trac­tions such as the ever pop­u­lar shinty match, trade stalls, stock judg­ing and ter­rier rac­ing. The judg­ing in­cludes High­land and com­mer­cial beef cat­tle, black­face sheep, dogs, poul­try, bak­ing and pre­serves, as well as dis­plays of hand­i­crafts and hor­ti­cul­ture.

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