First schools countryside day ‘a success’ say organisers

Primary five schoolchildren from across the region went to their own special Border Union show - the first event of its kind - in Kelso on Tuesday.

The Border Union Agricultural Society (BUAS) staged its Schools Countryside Day for the 1,300 children as one of the main elements of its Bicentenary celebrations.

Speaking after the event, BUAS secretary Ron Wilson said: “It’s been fantastic. Everyone worked very hard today. The exhibitors were stars and everybody was so enthusiastic.

“It’s extremely important to have a day like this so the countryside can engage with these youngsters as, in a few years, they will become the custodians of the land.”

“It’s been a very successful day for everyone, the BUAS, the people who kindly came and exhibited and most of all for the children.”

“We very much wish to look to the future and leave legacies from this fantastic year of 200 years in existence and one of the main legacies is to arrange a countryside day for primary five children on the third Tuesday of May each year.”

Over 50 exhibitors took part and the children saw sheepdogs, shearers, farriers and auctioneers at work, learned about making haggis and there were pheasant chicks, rabbits, bantams, ducks, goats, hens, turkeys, a Hereford cow, a pig and piglets and ewes and lambs at the showground. There was machinery also, including a 500 horse power tractor with a 12 furrow plough standing next to a 67-year-old T20 Massey with a single furrow plough: “The comparison was amazing,” said Ron.

The event was organised by the BUAS with assistance from Scottish Borders Council and with support from The Co-operative Farms.

It was also backed by Event Scotland, the Royal Highland Educational Trust, Charity Begins at Home and Greenvale AP as well as the Borders based businesses who took part in the show.

“The purpose of the day is to show everything that is rural - firstly agriculture and where our food comes from, how it’s processed and also all the other types of interests that we now have in the countryside, “ said Ron.

Sally Fleming, from The Co-operative Farms’ “From Farm to Fork” project at the Hirsel Estate, near Coldstream, said: “It was a great opportunity for us to engage with pupils and teachers and for them to hear about our award-winning outdoor learning experience, called “From Farm to Fork”, and learn about healthy eating, as well as food and farming in this part of Scotland.”

Langlee Primary School teacher James Douglas commented: “There has been really good engagement from the children and they have learned lots of new things about the farming and the countryside. It has been a really well organised and informative day.”

The council is going to send out evaluation forms about the day for schools to fill in, which will be forwarded to the BUAS.