Saturday at the bicentenary Border Union Show at Kelso was a good day for the Douglas family of Catslackburn, Selkirk.
Not only did they win the sheep interbreed title for the first time at the region’s biggest agricultural event, they went on to take the champion of champions with their South Country Cheviot ewe.
David Douglas said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime achievement. I’m over the moon – it’s great.”
It’s the first season the three-crop ewe, which is nursing twins at home and is by a home-bred ram, has been shown.
The father-and-son team of Norman and David farm 2,700 acres, running 1,000 Cheviots (South Country), 1,000 Lairg- type Cheviots, 400 Blackface, 100 Texels, 50 Suffolks and 240 suckler cows.
Asked what he thought judges liked, Norman said: “She’s an exceptional ewe, she’s got breed character, she’s got good legs and skin, and she’s quite big – she’s got a bit of substance about her.”
Andrew and Gillian McCowan, Horncliffe Mains, Berwick, took second top spot with their thoroughbred cross bay gelding, Irish Squire, this year’s hunter reserve champion.
Gillian said: “I’m very pleased. It is the first time Irish Squire, a former finalist at the Horse of the Year Show, has scooped prestigious prizes at the Border Union.”
Champion of champions judge and former Border Union chairwoman Marion Tilson said: “Judging the champion of champions is an impossible task – and a fantastic honour.
“The cockerel really catches the eye, the horse went round impeccably, but the sheep is just that bit special, she’s very correct, she’s very nice.”
The beef interbreed champion was an 18-month-old heifer from Gordon Brooke, Upper Huntlywood, Earlston, shown by Richard Rettie, which, earlier this year, was the reserve female champion at the Great Yorkshire and will be competing at Perth Show tomorrow and Saturday.
Clydesdale champion was the two-year-old filly, Pacemuir Marion Morrison, from D. J. Copland of Montgomery Place, Peebles.
Country Durham’s John Fletcher, with his two-year-old Netherland Dwarf, which has scooped about 10 best-in-show tickets this year so far, won best rabbit.
Taking the poultry honours was the show’s best bantam, David Taylor’s Dutch Gold cockerel from Hurlford, Ayrshire.
Champion goat was Montreaux Maziwamto, owned by Paul Mounter from Durham. The British Saanen was judged best dairy goat before taking the championship.
Border Union Agricultural Society secretary Ron Wilson said: “The show was absolutely wonderful.
“We were so lucky. We had 35mm of rain on Thursday, then Friday and Saturday were great.
“For a show that takes a year to organise, this one took two and all the extra elements – the Story of Wool, the River Tweed project, the plots (of several crops), the History of the Horse and the food were amazing.
“It all just fell into place and the great thing is they are all connected with the Tweed basin. All our people – directors, security, stewards, everyone – worked very hard.”
Mr Wilson continued: “The gate was up on both Friday and Saturday.”
He felt PR and advertising backing from Event Scotland and Scottish Borders Council helped
He said: “The standard of livestock is immense. The mood among farmers is a sight better than it was this time last year.”
Mr Wilson added: “Farming is still feeling the repercussions of the horrendous year we had last year. A lot of winter crops were ploughed out and had to be resown, but farmers are very resilient and will bounce back to whatever normality is.”