The weather gods smiled – albeit intermittently – on the crowd at the 186th Border Union Show, held at Springwood Park in Kelso, on Friday and Saturday.
Crowd numbers looked a little down on previous years – although they could all have been staying under cover from the several showers that hit the showfield – and cattle entries were limited as there was no national show.
It still proved to be the premier agricultural event in the region, and second only in the country to the Royal Highland Show at Ingliston, however.
The climax to the show is the choosing of the champion of champions, which takes place after the parade of livestock on the Saturday afternoon and gives the appointed judge the difficult job of deciding the best in show between the overall winners of the cattle, ridden horse, heavy horse, sheep and poultry sections.
This year, judge Ronnie Black seemed torn between a Limousin bull from Redpath Farms called Dinmore Jollygood and the ridden hunter Tredragon, ridden by Gilly McCowan and owned by Gilly and her husband Andrew, from Horncliffe Mains, near Berwick – and he plumped for the latter.
Mr Black, of Cupar in Fife, said: “It was a very difficult decision, and it could have gone either way.
“The limousin is a remarkable animal, and the ridden hunter did very well. It takes many hours to train a horse to do what he can do.
“Either would have made a good supreme champion, but this time I’ve gone for the horse.”
It’s not the first time the Berwick couple have come up trumps at the show as they won a few years back with a horse called Fusilier.
Gilly said: “We weren’t here last year, but the year before we had a riding horse champion.
“You never know how well you will do on the day, but on this occasion, of course, I’m delighted.”
This year’s show marks the end of an era for Border Union Agricultural Society in that it was the last one for secretary Ron Wilson, who steps down after the ram sales in September.
Known as Mr Border Union Show, Ron is usually seen running the event, ironing out any issues along the way, and this year was no different.
His remit does not end with classifying livestock and liaising with farmers. For instance, not many would have noticed the borehole pump in the ladies’ toilet went down on Saturday because Ron had arranged for it to be switched to the mains within 20 minutes.
His shoes will certainly be tough to fill, but retirement is pretty far from his mind right now, with organisation for the ram sales in full flow.
Asked how it felt to have overseen his last Border Union Show, he said: “I haven’t really had time to think about it like that, to be honest.
“It hasn’t really hit me yet. I’m delighted that this year’s show appears to have been a success.
“We may have been down a little in numbers from last year, but that was a record-breaking show and would have been tough to beat, given the weather.”
There was a very strong sheep entry, with the Cheviots having their national show.
Watching was the new North Country Cheviot Sheep Society secretary Corinne Cowin, who watched chairman Willie Thomson and his father Jimmy win the breed’s national show, coming first in the Lairg and the park-type, which in turn went on to lift the supreme and reserve interbreed sheep honours respectively, from their Hownam Grange flock.
As this year is the 50th anniversary of the Donkey Society, it increased its entry from 24 to 31, with the introduction of miniature donkey classes.
And it was one of these which won the class – Lorraine Rae’s Frontier Legends Diplomat, of Bamburgh, a brown stallion who looked like he enjoyed his lap of honour in the champion of champions show, led by Berwick’s Claire Scott.
Thrilling the crowd on the Saturday was a team of young motorcyclists from London, the Honda Imps.
A regular favourite at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the youngsters, some as young as five, performed some marvellous tricks on their machines, including pyramids, backwards riding, inch-perfect crossovers and a spectacular jump over some of the smaller riders.
Other highlights in the main ring on the Saturday included lurcher racing, heavy horse turnouts, a carriage-driving championship and a celebration of Fordson – a unique parade of tractors with one from each decade, from a 1917 Fordson F, which cost $600, to the biggest 2017 Ford/New Holland with a retail price of £200,000.
The show has a proud past of showing people how their food gets from field to plate, and this year there were 20 plots showing all manner of environmental crops grown in the countryside.
And in the main exhibition hall, there were 45 stands in the ever-popular food fair showing off the best produce from both sides of the border, and the craft and gift hall was also fully booked, and proved a main attraction.
Outdoors, there were 200 very varied trade stands from local suppliers to political parties and a fairground for kids big and small.
Speaking after the show, at which the Scottish Conservatives had a stall, John Lamont, MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, said: “This was once again a hugely successful Border Union Show which truly had something for everyone.
“It was great to speak to so many constituents and to take the time to visit some of the trade stands and organisations who attended.
“My thanks go to the Border Union Agricultural Society, who hosted a visit from the Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, and for all the hard work everyone put in to make sure the show ran so smoothly and was such a success.”
Champion of champions
Champion: Ridden hunter, Tredragon, Andrew and Gilly McCowan, Horncliffe Mains. Reserve: Limousin bull, Redpath Farms.
Horses and Ponies
Lauderdale Challenge Cup for champion mountain/moorland ridden pony: G. Rossall & N. J. Wright – Treworgan Top Notch.
Waldie Griffiths Challenge Cup for champion nountain and moorland ridden pony: H. G. Whetter – Trenewydd Danny Boy.
Mrs A Hogg’s Challenge Cup (Champ) – J. Scales, Rotherwood Melody Maker.
The Edale Trophy (Champ) Charlie Cousens, Rhos Emilia. The Craiglea Challenge Trophy (Champ Foal) – Charlie Cousens, Foal.
Highland ponies in-hand
Strathleven Challenge Trophy/Highland Pony Society Rosette (Champ) – C. W. Grant, Dunedin Rhiona.
Highland ponies ridden
Ednam House Trophy / Highland Pony Society Rosette (Champ) – C. W. Grant – Dunedin Rhiona.
Champion rosetter – Mellissa Swinley – Liddesdale Sovereign.
Torquhan Cup (Champ Sec A) – C Crawford, Blackhill Quanita. Douthwaite Cup (Champ Sec B) – Gordon Appleby, Telynau Helena (overall champion).
The Gonzo Salver – Fiona Hutcheson, Fairsunrise.
Native ponies in hand
Transy Trophy – J. Watson, Kerloch Rupert. The Haig Douglas Perpetual Challenge Trophy – G Reilly, Nisbet. Sydserff Challenge Trophy – R. Williams,Glenwood Stud Strike a Note. Leithenwater Challenge Trophy – A. Chaffe, La Ventura Independence.
Hunter pony breeding
Macharg Bowl – M. Wardropper, Woodend Balamory.
Native ridden & part-bred ponies
Border Union Challenge Cup – Brian M. Hyslop, Newoak Classic Edition. Dene Rejoice Salver – Louise Younger, Wellbrow Norman.
Working hunter ponies
South Laws Cup – Debbie Robertson, Clydes Dream Boy. R. Hunter Murray Challenge Salver – Dawn Edgar, Bobby Eoin.
M&M working hunter ponies
Duchess of Sutherland Challenge Cup Champion – H. G. Whetter, Trenewydd Danny Boy. Major T. H. C. Cox Silver Cup Reserve Champion – Mr & Mrs I Somervail, Bellindene Rhuaridh.
Show hunter ponies
Rosepark Trophy – Lynn Gregg – Jeanfield Regal Prince.
Pony club team jumping
Ponies of Britain Salver (Junior) – Duke of Buccleuch Pony Club. Ponies of Britain Challenge Cup (Senior) Duke of Buccleuch Pony Club.
Don Challenge Cup – Mr & Mrs Andrew McCowan, Tredragon.
Hunters in hand
Wm Murray Silver Challenge Salver and the Ellesmere Silver Challenge Cup – Joanne & William Moran, Dewsberry Park. Alan Innes Memorial Challenge Cup – Joanne & William Moran, Wallace Town. Kelso Town Challenge Trophy – Gillian Clark, Rose Quartz.
Jedforest Challenge Cup – Mr & Mrs Andrew McCowan, Tredragon. Tweeddale Press Cup – Clive Storey, Coco. Axminster Rose Bowl – Nesta & Grant Todd, Roscoe. Ian MacKenzie Gray Memorial Cup – Clive Storey, Coco. Belling Burn Cup – Hilary Mactaggart, Harley Street.
The Newall Challenge Cup – Lorraine Rae, Frontier Legends Diplomat. Perpetual Cup – Best Turned-Out
Donkey – G. A. D. Burton, Todridge Walnut.
Eric Gillie Trophy – Caroline Pennycook, Blue Thor.
Hendersyde Cup – J. Tennant – Solo. William Rennie Perpetual Trophy (opposite sex to champion – T. Tennant, Mollinhillhead Lady Claire.
Roger Buglass Challenge Cup – J Fairbairn, Marshall Meadows Spotlight.
Winner: S. W. Graham, Dan.
Heavy horse turnouts
Harp Lager Trophy – Gawin I. Holmes, Jake.
Centenary Challenge Cup (champion) Redpath Farms, Dinmore Jollygood. Anniversary Trophy (reserve) – Gordon Brooke Estate, Linton Gilbertines President S021.
The Nisbethill Challenge
Cup/tartan sash – Gordon Brooke Estate, Linton Gilbertines President S021. T. W. Todd Silver Rose Bowl – Firm of Thomas Hodge, Rulesmains Karen L239.
Champion / Kerfield Cup / special rosette –Harry Elliot, Cornriggs 1 Julia 4th . Royal Bank of Scotland Salver, best group of three –B. G. Hutchinson.
Native beef breeds
Champion / Bank of Scotland Trophy – Gordon Brooke Estate, Balgay Jerusalem Song (Shorthorn).
Champion / Nutrivet Cup – Redpath Farms, Dinmore Jollygood.
Open young handler
16-21 years – Isla Campbell. 15 and under – Kirien Campbell.
Joe Walton Challenge Trophy – W & J Thomson, Hownam Grange. The Gowanbrae Cup (reserve) – W & J Thomson, Hownam Grange.
Centenary Challenge Cup/ championship rosette – Mr & Mrs K. Irving.
Championship rosette – J. Kingan.
Wm Bosomworth Silver Cup Champion – Mr & Mrs B Nicolson. Hugh Fraser Silver Salver (best opposite sex to champion) – S & G Sutherland.
Championship rosettes – Mr & Mrs B Nicolson. The Bell Salver (best opposite sex to champion) –Ian Murray.
Charles Scott Trophy/championship rosette – Colin Rae. Eildon Hill Salver – Caroline Anderson.
Any other breed
Championship rosette –Robert Rennie (Beltex).
McAlpine Silver Cup/championship rosette – Messrs Green (Texel).
Arnott Silver Cup/championship rosettes – S McClymont. McTurk Silver Cup (best opposite sex to champion – Tollishill Farming.
Scots Gap Cup/BFL Society Plaque/championship rosette – S. McClymont.
Centenary Challenge Cup/championship rosette – C. M. Ker. Tom Rogerson Trophy (opposite sex to champion) – C. M. Ker. J. Bibby Perpetual Challenge Cup (best group) – C.M. Ker.
Hebridean Sheep Society Rose Bowl/Ronasvoe Cup/champion – Nick & Ann Fecitt. Sycamore Trophy (reserve champion) – John Mosley. Carcross Trophy (best multi horned sheep) – J. & M. Cuthbert. Windyhall Trophy (best pen of three) – J. &M. Cuthbert
Redpath Trophy/Carochy Bowl and sash/championship rosette – G. Connor & S. Dalrymple. Harbell Trophy (best pair) – G. Connor & S. Dalrymple.
Championship rosettes – Jack Graham.
Lairg type Cheviot
W & J Thomson Cup/Davidson Brother’s (Shotts) Ltd Trophy – W & J Thomson.
North Country Cheviot
Centenary Challenge Cup /Silver Salver/Jack Dun Trophy (best exhibit) – W. & J. Thomson. The Clackmae Cup (best group) – J. Runciman and sons.
The Centenary Challenge Cup/championship rosettes – G. D. Pate & Sons. Short Silver Cup (class 259) – G. D. Pate & Sons.
A C Burn Shield/Shetland Society special rosettes/championship rosettes – Mr & Mrs A. Bain. Frances Fish Cup (coloured) – Susan Tyson & Rachel Willan. Frances Fish Cup (white) – Mr & Mrs A. Bain. Champion of Champions qualifier – Mr & Mrs A. Bain.
Cessford Motors Challenge Cup/championship rosette – N & G Sandilands.
Prime lambs (non MV)
McAlpine Silver Cup/championship rosettes – Andrew Rennie (Beltex X).
Open young handler
MV – winner, James Nicholson; reserve Hannah Francis.Non MV – winner, Angus Weir; reserve, Adam Anderson. Dan Buglass Memorial Trophy – winner, James Nicholson; reserve, Angus Weir.
The Border Union Trophy/championship rosette – Joan Brunton. British Wool Sheep Breeders Book – Joan Brunton.
The Industrial Cup – Jan Little. Templeton Rose Bowl – Joan Duncan. Margaret Forrest Rose Bowl – Sarah Purves. Shaw Salver – Marion Hamilton. The Mary Rogerson Trophy – Sarah Purves. Kelso Pea Growers Ltd Cup – Jan Little. The Turnbull Salver – Elizabeth Kowbel. The Lees Cup – Rachel Young. The Margaret College Shield – Ross Dagg & Carys Jones. Pat Sloan Trophy –Sofiya Kowbel.
Champion – Coco, with Freya Graham. Reserve – Swift, with James Clarke.
R. W. Brown Challenge Cup (champion) – A. & J. Robertson. Roxburgh House Salver (reserve champion) – H. Wallace. T. F. Carrs Shield (best hard feather – J. Rodgers. J. Halley Shield (best soft feather or true bantam – A. & J. Roberston. The M. Crawford Cup (best exhibit bred in the current year) – D. A. Taylor. R & L Ramsay Trophy (best waterfowl) – A. & J. Robertson. Tankard (best exhibit in egg section) – D. C. S. Tweedie. Tankard (best junior) – Bayley Chloe Holliday.
Jedburgh Goat Group Cup / A. Carr Trophy / BU Championship rosettes/Fionn Mist Perpetual Challenge Rose Bowl (best Toggenburg or British Toggenburg) – Rebecca E. Campbell, Linnavon Edelweiss. The Richmond Cup (best Anglo Nubian) – Beth Fairley, Braynusen Kalamity. Tweedside Sissy Rosebowl (best British Saanen) – V. Wood, Treval Zinnia;. Whitehouse Silver Salver/ JGG Rose Bowl – V. Wood, Treval Aliola;. Highland Confectionery Cup/ The Galloway Cup V. Wood, Treval Zinnia. St Micheal Trophy (best AOV milker) – Rebekah Fleming, Ladeside Ladyrue. BGS Rosette (best goat in show – Rebecca E. Campbell, Linnavon Edelweiss. The Breeders Challenge Cup – Val Wood.
Countess of Lauderdale Cup – Ian Gajczak. George Fairley Memorial Cup – Jack Clayton.
The Border Stick Dressers’ Association Challenge Cup – D. E. Gardner. Best Exhibit Novices Classes – Murray James Playfair.
Silver Challenge Cup/T. H. Brewis Silver Quaich – Ewan Pate & Jim Pate.
Champion – Hand Made by Judith. Reserve – Countryside Kitchens.