Ice cream vendors didn’t even have time to rub their hands in glee during the two sunny warm days of the Border Union Show at Kelso last Friday and Saturday.
Organisers, the Border Union Agricultural Society, took action to make sure animals did not suffer in Saturday’s sunshine, allowing sheep to leave the Springwood Park showground early (1.30pm) and cancelling the afternoon’s grand parade.
Society secretary Ron Wilson said: “We didn’t have a proper parade this year because the cattle, and even the equines, had been out as much as they should. The directors took the decision and exhibitors were delighted with it, which is typical of the care and compassion good farmers have.”
He added: “It was fairly hot. The hot food stands were concerned, but people have to eat and they were surprised at how normal trade was.”
Attendance was slightly down on last year’s bicentennial show, when record numbers visited.
Ron said: “Although Friday this year was very similar to last year, there is no doubt that the Saturday attendance will be down, though not significantly.” Likely reasons were farmers combining, the Commonwealth Games and the hot day, he said.
Highlights included having three national sheep shows with more than 100 entries for each, as well as the Scottish National Hereford Show, he said.
And he told us: “It is always nice that societies wish to use the Border Union Show as their centrepiece for the year. And, so far, we have got two national cattle shows next year already.
“The thrill also is that, whatever species of animal, including rabbits, poultry and goats, we do have a very high quality of stock here.”
Overall he said: “We were very pleased. It was a happy show.”
Visiting politicians included Rural Affairs Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead, who described the show as being of national significance, and former Chancellor Alistair Darling.
Mr Lochhead said farmers were upbeat: “The demand for Scottish food and drink produce is through the roof, there is more value attached to agriculture than for many decades and it’s great to speak to local farmers telling me about the resurgence in the Young Farmers Club. These are all healthy signs for the future.”
But he admitted: “There is an element of uncertainty over the implementation of the new CAP as a lot of people won’t know exactly what that means.”
Champion of Champions judge Tom Tennant of Gilmanscleuch, Ettrick, gave the top ticket to Gordon and David Gray, Sunnycroft, Lindean, for their Texel gimmer, Utterly Butterly.
David, showing the homebred animal for the first time, said: “This is a dream come true.”
Earlier, she took the sheep interbreed title, when David said: “It’s tremendous, this is only the second time we’ve won it (1998 was the last time).”
Sired by £6,000 Knock Topaz, her mother was interbreed champion at Perth Show last year and her granny was Kelso’s reserve interbreed in 2011.
The overall reserve went to John Fairbairn, Marshall Meadows, Berwick for his 14-month-old Shire colt, Marshall Meadows Mascot.
Mr Fairbairn said: “I’m delighted. He’s got a big future ahead of him.” This year’s Northumberland County reserve champion heavy horse will remain entire, he said.
Mr Tennant commented: “It was a very good line-up, every champion was worthy. The gimmer has tremendous breed character, she’s just an outstanding sheep.”
And of the Shire, he said: “He’s got tremendous movement and super feather.”
Other champions included the cattle interbreed champion, 18-month-old Limousin bull, Goldies Instructor, owned by Keith Redpath, Bowmont Court, Heiton, who said: “You come and it’s a bit of fun, it’s nice to do well. He’s big and long. He’s been really motoring since I bought him.”
Taking the overall hunter championship were James and Livy Agnew, Hendersyde, Kelso with their homebred, three-year-old bay gelding, Tanganyika, shown by Richard Telford. Reserve went to Andrew and Gillian McCowan, Horncliffe Mains, Berwick, and their seven-year-old bay gelding, Tredragon.
The reserve sheep interbreed title went to Roderick (Rocket) Runciman of Allanshaws, Galashiels, with a North Country Cheviot ewe.
Peebles’ Dorinda Fontana scooped the top poultry award with her homebred black Cochin cock, BBC 3, this year’s Scottish Cochin champion: “He’s been doing so well this year,” she said.
Champion rabbit was Harry Brown’s five-month black Rex from Durham.
Also on Saturday, society vice president Lord Joicey presented foreman Dick Borthwick with a long service award for 50 years’ employment at Lauderdale Estate, saying: “Dick’s wisdom and knowledge on all countryside matters has been invaluable. This award is richly deserved.”