Borderers grab a fistful of awards

IT was a Borders rout as far as Salers cattle were concerned. Among the sheeop, Cheviots, various, flew the region’s flag, garnering a haul of rosettes, and a Hereford bull mopped up at last week’s Royal Highland Show.

The Borders’ top livestock showmen and women donned waterproofs and got on with the job in hand as judging took place in the downpours of Thursday and Friday at Ingliston.

Roderick Runciman’s four-shear North Country Cheviot (Park) tup, Synton Bullseye, was third in the sheep interbreed after winning his own breed championship.

Asked what the judges liked, Mr Runciman, of Allanshaws, Galashiels, said: “He’s so correct and he was in big fettle. He’s fit as a fiddle, with a perfect mouth and perfect legs, an immense body and a tremendous head.”

The tup was first in his class at the Border Union Show last year. His breeders were judging at last year’s Highland, so the tup missed it, but a daughter, Allanshaws Pam, took the breed championship and reserve interbreed tickets, and went one better at Kelso later that summer.

Bred by Selkirk farmers Jock and Scott Davies of North Synton – and sired by the homebred Allanshaws Doubletop – Mr Runciman bought the prizewinner at Lockerbie for £2,200 as a one-shear.

“It’s a great honour and privilege to be up among the likes of Jock Forsyth and Robbie Wilson [the interbreed champion] and reserve showmen last week – I was very proud.”

The tup may or may not be at the Border Union. “He’ll let me know when he wants to retire,” said Mr Runciman.

The Bowmont Valley farmers had a good day with both top tickets for the North Country Cheviot (Hill) coming back to Yetholm when Michael Elliot of Woodside Farm won the championship with a homebred one-crop ewe and Jim Thomson, Kelsocleugh, further up the valley, lifted the reserve with a gimmer.

Demonstrating rather the nature of showing, Mr Elliot said his ewe – sired by homebred Woodside Knight – as a gimmer came second to a better gimmer of Mr Thomson’s last year.

“She holds her head nicely, she’s very showy. The judge got onto her straight away, ” he said of her.

It’s the fifth time the Elliots have won the breed championship and the second year in a row. Mr Elliot also took the tup championship and reserve best male.

Borderers were also in the money among the Cheviots, with James Irving from Mountbenger, Yarrow, taking the breed reserve championship with the male champion, a two-shear tup, while Norman Douglas, Catslackburn, Yarrow, was awarded the reserve female champion ticket with a ewe in milk and John Hume, Sundhope Farm, Yarrow, took the reserve male championship with a shearling. They were judged by Tim Elliot, Jedburgh.

Among the cattle, R. and A. Crockett, Conker Cottage, Deanfoot, Denholm, topped the Salers with their two-year-old bull Seawell Fortune, while Bryan Walling, Over Whitlaw, Selkirk, clinched reserve with his 19-month-old bull Cumbrian Red Hector.

The rest of the tickets that count were split between Rob Livesey, Nether Firth, Lilliesleaf (reserve and best female, best pair and best group of three); Bryan Walling (junior champion, best junior female and male, reserve bull); R. and A. Crockett (best bull); and James and Sophie Manners, Deanfoot, Denholm (reserve junior animal).

Hereford breeders Ron and Robert Wilson, Cowbog, Morebattle, presented the best junior bull and best bull on their way to winning the overall championship with two-year-old homebred Romany 1 Heavyduty. And another of theirs, Romany 1 Ishbel, now owned by Whittaker & Co Farms, Stickle Heaton, Cornhill-on-Tweed, took best opposite sex to the champion.

Whittaker & Co stayed among the ribbons along at the Aberdeen Angus ring, winning the best junior female, reserve female and best junior animal awards with a heifer.

Other sheep results included the bluefaced Leicester reserve championship going to a tup lamb of Iain Minto, Townhead Farm, near West Linton, which gained the best male ticket. Mr Minto also won the Scotch mule championship with a three-crop ewe. Along the Hebridean sheep lines, Dr John and Caroline Moseley of Kirkdean, Blyth Bridge, West Linton, took the championship with their two-shear tup and also scooped the reserve male ticket. Bonchester Bridge’s Molly Campbell recorded reserve best female ticket among the Zwartbles with a ewe lamb, while Charles Scott of Viewfield East Middle, Hawick, won that breed’s reserve male championship with a shearling tup.

Also a Lleyn breeder, Bryan Walling took the reserve best female with a ewe, while Miss J. E. Brown of Eildon Cottage, Mindrum Mill, gained reserve breed champion with a Border Leicester ewe lamb. James Brown and others at the same address won the championship and male championship with a two-shear tup and took the reserve best female ticket with their ewe.

Robert Locker of Greenlaw Mill Farm, Greenlaw, was awarded overall reserve championship along the Jacob lines – judged by Marion Leithead, Hawick – with a two-crop homebred ewe as well as the reserve best female.

Hawick shearer Geordie Bayne won the novice wool handling class. And Standhill Cheesery at Minto confirmed the popularly of its Border Brie and Roxburgh Roondie again when both won silver awards, along with its Standhill blue. Also receiving its first silver was the cheesery’s white crumbly Lilliesleaf.

Among the horses, Lady Sanderson, Becketts Field, Bowden, took the reserve championship in the Eriskay ponies with her homebred grey yearling gelding, Becketts Field Charlie

Young Millie Manners rode her pony Daukester Simon of Warleigh – owned by parents James and Sophie Manners, of Deanfoot Farm, Denholm – to win the lead rein and first show hunter pony champion’s rosette. Millie also went on to gain reserve champion, riding her pony side-saddle.

Earlston’s Kelda Stewart gained the championship in the mountain and moorland lead rein/first pony category with her six-year-old Welsh Section A palomino mare Shamrocklake Shirley Temple.

Attendance figures at Scotland’s main agricultural show were more than 20,000 down 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.”

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