And the show

CON­TIN­UES ...

The Oban Times - - Farming -

WITH its long 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 sheep 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, like 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 Salen, where farm­ing is so im­por­tant to the com­mu­nity.

SALEN AGRI­CUL­TURAL SHOW

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 stock­judg­ing, 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.

SU­NART AND DIS­TRICT AGRI­CUL­TURAL SHOW

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.

IS­LAY, JURA AND COLON­SAY AGRI­CUL­TURAL SHOW

As the name sug­gest, this show draws com­peti­tors and visi­tors from the three is­lands to Bridgend on Is­lay.

This year’s show is held on Au­gust 10, and along­side the stock­judg­ing 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 AGRI­CUL­TURAL SHOW

At the Mid-Ar­gyll Agri­cul­tural Show on Au­gust 12 at Kil­mory in Lochgilp­head, hun­dreds of ex­hibitors en­ter com­pe­ti­tions in bak­ing, pro­duce, crafts, flow­ers and veg­eta­bles as well as the dog and live­stock classes. Tim Lis­ter will pre­side over the 120th Show, sup­ported by vice pres­i­dents Fer­gus Lyon and Caitri­ona MacLeod. A large crowd of spec­ta­tors will en­joy watch­ing the judg­ing of cat­tle, sheep, dogs, horses, ponies and poultry com­pe­ti­tions. Other reg­u­lar at­trac­tions are the dis­play of vin­tage trac­tors and the de­light­ful pets sec­tion will con­tinue to­gether with the ter­rier rac­ing com­pe­ti­tions. Ewan MacInnes and col­leagues with four sets of coach and horses will de­light the crowds at this year’s show.

AP­PIN AGRI­CUL­TURAL SHOW

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 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

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, stock­judg­ing 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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