Borders producers gearing up for Highland Show

Jonathan Watson of Bowsden Moor Farm in Northumberland with Tweeddale Daimler who sold for 10,000gns in 2010
Jonathan Watson of Bowsden Moor Farm in Northumberland with Tweeddale Daimler who sold for 10,000gns in 2010

Borders farmers and other producers will be among those putting the finishing touches to livestock and other exhibits for the Highland Show later this month.

Livestock numbers are up for the 174th show with almost 7,000 animals expected and there are increased entries across the dairy cattle, sheep, dairy goats and horse sections.

Berwick’s Brian Redhead and Jonathan Watson of Bowsden Moor are taking Charolais cattle to the Highland for the first time.

Jonathan explained: “This is the first crop of calves that are entirely our own breeding and it’s to start advertising them.

“Selling pedigree cattle is the main part of our business and the show is a good shop window.

“We established the Charolais herd two years ago: I thought there was an opening and the breed was an obvious choice because Charolais bulls are becoming more popular again.”

The successful uncle and nephew team hope to take eight cattle - Limousin, British Blues as well as Charolais - to Ingliston, including the Limousin Tweeddale Hawkeye, last year’s Great Yorkshire’s reserve junior champion - and another Limousin, the now 19-month-old senior female champion of the Stars of the Future calf show at Stirling in November.

Among the sheep exhibitors, Roderick ‘Rocket’ Runciman of Allanshaws, Galashiels, who took the North Country Cheviot breed title for the third time on the trot last year, is taking up “seven or eight” he said. Up the valleys, last year’s breed championship winners Jimmy and George Irving, of Mountbenger, are putting forward four South Country Cheviots while Steven Renwick of Craigdouglas is taking Texels.

Up the Kale Valley, Will Thomson of Hownam Grange will attend with North Country Cheviots and, close to Kelso, last year’s breed championship winners, Patrick and Denise Playfair return with Shetlands. And other ‘regulars’ from the region are expected.

The Highland Hall will be temporary home to almost 1,000 beef and dairy cattle and some 1,900 sheep are expected to fill five marquees.

Sheep entry numbers are up by 100 to reach an eight-year high, with notably Beltex on 231 entries, up by 21 and Hebridean with 77 entries up by 38.

Horse entries have again increased on last year in both the heavy and light horse sections, up by 102 entries to 1,713, with the Mounted and Moorland Ridden classes dominating with 212 entries and Coloured Horse entries up by 33 to 178.

Limousins will dominate the cattle hall with 123 entries, up by 21 on 2013. Scottish breed entries have also seen a rise, with both Belted Galloway and Highland entries up to 28 and 95 respectively.

Organisers, the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland’s chief executive Stephen Hutt: “The numbers speak for themselves and reflect the widely held view that the Highland is the place to exhibit, and hopefully, win. And winning is no mean feat, with the very best calibre of livestock on show.”

Judging at the four-day event starts at 8am on the first day, Thursday June 19.