Cattle floats, trailers and horse boxes were loaded up with hundreds of prize-winners and thousands of also-rans last night as farmers made their weary way home after a vintage Royal Highland Show.
A record-breaking 195,400 visitors got to smell, taste and savour the best of rural life over four sunny days at Ingliston. The gathering is estimated to deliver £65 million in economic benefit to Scotland.
Away from the action at the ringsides – where 1,101 cattle, 2,128 sheep and more than 2,200 horses competed for a share of £170,000 in prize money and 280 trophies – entertainment highlights included a highly praised celebration of Clydesdale horses, and 300 dancers performing an eightsome reel in the main ring.
The biggest food festival in the country in the Lowland Hall was mobbed from early each morning, there were rural crafts, a forestry arena, award-winning displays by farriers and sheep shearers, and a busy countryside arena.
The Scottish Borders provided the presidential team, and the president’s initiative this year celebrated the area’s heritage and culture with events which included a recreation of the traditional Common Ridings.
Exuberant Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) chairman Jimmy Warnock said the show was loved equally by those working in the agriculture industry and those who just enjoy seeing the best from farmers and food producers.
He added: “This has been an incredible show, as demonstrated by the record-breaking figures.
“What we offer is an authentic day out that is not manufactured, with the stars of the show the animals.”
A new young handler championship was introduced this year to recognise the best young stockman or woman across all species.
The popular competition was won by 12-year-old Katie Aiken Young from Wray in Lancashire, and the reserve champion was Angus McGowan, 13, from Alyth, with his Scots Dumpy hen Katie Morag.
The event makes the most of the opportunity to spread the farming message to young people, with the RHASS’ educational arm, the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET) welcoming more than 7,200 children to their marquee on Thursday and Friday.
Over the four days an estimated 30,000 were estimated to have visited, with children aged 15 and under admitted free, and RHET celebrated its 20th anniversary with the announcement of funding support from the Scottish Government, Education Scotland, the Soil Association and the Food and Drink Federation, as part of the government’s Good Food Futures programme.
Food producers such as South Caernarfon Creameries and Peter Equi & Sons Ltd were among the winners, with the Scottish championships including categories for products such as cheese, butter, ice cream, bread and honey.
The show was also the venue for the presentation of technical innovation awards, which showcase and reward advances in the agricultural sector.