There will have been many a farmer thanking their chosen deities when the rain began in earnest last week, soaking their parched crops.
However, it’s not the best weather for a day out at the region’s premier agricultural show. That did not stop people coming, though, and thousands of people from across the Borders and beyond arrived to allow a bit of country into their lives.
The Border Union Show is so much more than kudos for the farmers in the livestock judging – it’s about learning how your food gets from field to fork, instilling a love of the country in children and a chance to see, taste and buy the wondrous produce raised, grown and made locally, and it’s about enjoying the thrills, skills and spills in the main ring.
Mags Clark, the Border Union Agricultural Society’s new executive director, was finally thrown in at the deep end following the retiral of secretary Ron Wilson.
She said: “It really was a fantastic show despite the weather on the Saturday.
“Coming to the Border Union Show each year has been a highlight of my life for as long as I can remember, and having the chance to sit in this chair is a real honour.
“Entries have held up well, just a bit down on last year, but we had two national shows in 2017, which accounted for the high numbers.
“It was also great to see that some new things we have tried, such as the cooking demonstrations and the tractor rides, were really well received.
“We are going to be constantly reviewing and developing things, so it’s exciting times.”
Taking pride of place as champion of champions was a fantastic Clydesdale, West Forth Solo, owned by James Tennant of Middle Oak, Braehead, Lanark.
It rounded off an excellent season for the horse after being crowned supreme overall champ at Biggar the previous weekend and named gelding champion at the Royal Highland Show in June .
Judge Tom Arnott, of Kelso, had no worries in striding up to the huge six-year-old West Forth Solo to present the rosette, saying: “He’s a beautiful, stunning horse, full of style, character and conformation.”
Mr Tennant told us: “It was absolutely awesome to win both shows.
“It’s one thing to win best of breed, but to be named champion is something else.
“It was a busy day, as well, as the horse also took part in the driven section before taking off the harness to appear in the next ring.”
There was a bit of a pleasant surprise as Mr Arnott chose the smallest beast in the ring as reserve champion – the supreme champion chicken, a home-bred six-month-old rumpless game hen, owned locally by Tom Moodie.
Second reserve was given to another local entry – a north country Cheviot named Synton Vesper, a two-shear ram from Willie and Jimmy Thomson, of Hownam Grange, Kelso, gaining them their seventh inter-breed title at Springwood Park.
There was also a superb show of Aberdeen Angus cattle, the winner being Rulesmains Karen – shown with her heifer calf, born in February – from Andrew Hodge and his daughter Emma’s herd at Rulesmains in Duns. It also won the beef interbreed prize, with Limousin bull Dinmore Jollygood, from Redpath Farms, Kelso, in reserve.
In the horse section, Hawick’s Hilary Mactaggart was delighted to retain the Belling Burn Cup with her ridden hunter Harley Street, before heading out to Gilsland Show with Fable, the pair winning their class, being named reserve champion and then reserve show supreme and qualifying for the showing register finals.
There were also very strong entries in the donkeys, rabbits and goats sections.
Jedburgh craftsman Oliver Simpson took a double in the Borders Stick Dressers’ Association Challenge Cup, winning the shepherd’s crook section as well as the reserve place.
There was a strong entry in the industrial section, with Elizabeth Kowbel winning the industrial cup for her efforts.
The trade stalls are always a highlight, and they too are judged, with the champion this year being clothing retailer A Hume of Kelso, with the Forestry Commission as reserve.
For thrills in the main ring, it was tough to beat the Broke FMX motocross riders, who performed unbelievable stunts over their ramp set-up in tricky winds.
The Red Arrows also made an appearance, flying over on their way to East Fortune.
Food also plays a big part in the show, and for those who failed to get full from free tasters in the food hall, there was a large selection available to buy outside.
The show must go on – and going by this effort, it looks like it just might do that, and in style.
RESULTS CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS
Champion: James Tennant – Clydesdale (West Forth Solo). Reserve: Thomas Moody – rumpless game bird. Third: W & J Thomson – north country Cheviot.
Thomas Hodge – Rulesmains Karen. Reserve: Redpath Farms – Dinmore Jollygood.
Thomas Hodge – Rulesmains Karen. Reserve W D Allen – Stouphill Patsy.
B. G. Hutchinson – Bethanfield Lisette; Reserve: B. G Hutchinson – Coley 1 Petrus.
Native beef breeds
Gordon Brooke Estate – Beef Shorthorn.
Redpath Farms – Dinmore Jollygood. Reserve: Gordon Brooke Estate – Romford Missy.
R & A Crockett (Bacardi Salers) – Bacardi Jessie Jay. Reserve: G & A Hamilton – Ramrig Nimbus British Blonde
Open young handler
16-21yrs winner: Tom Bradley-Farmer. Reserve: Mary Holmes. 15-and-under winner: Kirsty Campbell. Reserve: Lewis Ralston.
Lauderdale Challenge Cup for champion mountain/moorland ridden pony: Christopher Grant – Dunedin McSporran.
Waldie Griffiths Challenge Cup for champion mountain/moorland ridden pony: Robyn McGee – Walstead Page Boy.
Mrs A Hogg’s Challenge Cup: Nicoll Show Team – Romanno Willow the Wisp.
The Edale Trophy (champion): Ms L McGowan - Tygolau Chardonay. The Craiglea Challenge Trophy (foal): Ms L McGowan – Craiglea Amaretto.
Highland ponies in-hand
Strathleven Challenge Trophy/Highland Pony Society Rosette (Champ): Christopher Grant – Dunedin McSporran.
Highland ponies ridden
Ednam House Trophy / Highland Pony Society Rosette (Champ): Gillian McMurray – Trailtrow Tanera. NPS Qualifier: Caroline Redpath - Struan of Inverdarroch. M&M Novice ridden: Christopher Grant – Dunedin McSporran.
Overall champion: Lynneann Cameron – Goldenwood Georgie Girl.
The Gonzo Salver: L. Keay – Coedeneirin Reward.
Native ponies in hand
Transy Trophy: Mr J Watson – Kerloch Rupert. The Haig Douglas Perpetual Challenge Trophy: G Reilly – Nisbet. Sydserff Challenge Trophy: Robyn McGee – Walstead Page Boy. Leithenwater Challenge Trophy: Messrs Smith – Bracklinn Alice.
Hunter pony breeding
Macharg Bowl: Jane Walton – Redesdale May.
Native ridden & part-bred ponies
Border Union Challenge Cup: Nicoll Show Team – Anchor Gooseberry. Dene Rejoice Salver: Louise Younger – Wellbrow Norman.
Working hunter ponies
South Laws Cup winner G Lang – Hilin Fox Trot. R. Hunter Murray Challenge Salver – Tina Edgar – Ardagh Bobby.
M&M working hunter ponies
Duchess of Sutherland Challenge Cup: Mr & Mrs I Somervail – Bellindene Rhuaridh. Major T.H.C Cox Silver Cup (Reserve Champion): Mr & Mrs F. P Cowan – Wannie Mountain Ash.
Show hunter ponies
Rosepark Trophy: Lisa Ogilvie – Longnewton Tiger Lily.
Pony Club team jumping
Ponies of Britain Salver (Junior): North Northumberland hunt Pony Club. Ponies of Britain Challenge Cup (Senior): Duke of Buccleuch Pony Club.
Don Challenge Cup Joanne & William Moran – Tiger Trap.
Hunters in hand
Wm Murray Silver Challenge Salver and Ellesmere Silver Challenge Cup Joanne & William Moran – Tiger Trap. Alan Innes Memorial Challenge Cup and Kelso Town Challenge: John Wilson – Kariba.
Jedforest Challenge Cup: Mr & Mrs Andrew McCowan – Tredragon. Axminster Rose Bowl: Tina Edgar – Ardagh Airborne. Ian MacKenzie Gray Memorial Cup: V Hankinson – Laighlands Allt A Chruinn. 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 – Taka Ra Haka of Todridge.
Retraining racehorses – Eric Gillie Trophy Sandra Smith-Maxwell – Stormion.
Hendersyde Cup (best exhibitor): James Tennant – West Forth Solo;. William Rennie Perpetual Trophy (opposite sex to champion): M & A Bell – Graitney Hannah Elizabeth.
Roger Buglass Challenge Cup: Gawin I Holmes – John B.
The National Horse Brass Society: Gawin I Holmes – Sorbie.
Heavy horse turnouts
Harp Lager Trophy: 627?
Joe Walton Challenge Trophy: W & J Thomson. The Gowanbrae Cup (reserve): N & G Sandilands – Beltex.
Centenary Challenge Cup: R N Howie & Partners.
Championship rosette: T & I Walling.
Wm Bosomworth Silver Cup: Elaine Wilkie. Hugh Fraser Silver Salver (best opposite sex to champion): Roseden & Lilburn Flock.
Perpetual Challenge Trophy: J B Renwick & Son. Bell Salver (best opposite sex to champion): J B Renwick & Son.
Charles Scott Trophy: Stuart Craig. Eildon Hill Salver: Caroline Anderson.
Any other breed
Championship rosette: Robert Rennie, Beltex.
McAlpine Silver Cup: Hamish Currie, blue texels.
Arnott Silver Cup: S McClymont. McTurk Silver Cup (best opposite sex to champion: Tollishill Farming.
Scots Gap Cup/BFL Society Plaque: 310 S McClymont.
Centenary Challenge Cup: W N Douglas. Tom Rogerson Trophy (opposite sex to champion): W N Douglas. J Bibby Perpetual Challenge Cup (best group): W N Douglas.
Hebridean Sheep Society Rose Bowl/Ronasvoe Cup: John Mosley.
Redpath Trophy/Carochy Bowl and sash: R Locker.. Harbell Trophy (best pair): R Locker.
Lairg type Cheviot
W & J Thomson Cup/Davidson Brother’s (Shotts) Ltd Trophy: Kelsocleugh Farming.
North Country Cheviot
Centenary Challenge Cup/Silver Salver/Messrs Andrew Oliver (best exhibit) W&J Thompson. The Clackmae Cup (best group): W&J Thompson.
Centenary Challenge Cup: G D Pate & Sons.
A C Burn Shield: Susan Tyson & Rachel Willan. Frances Fish Cup (Coloured): P. M. L. Playfair. Frances Fish Cup (White): Susan Tyson & Rachel Willan.
Cessford Motors Challenge Cup: Stewart Shaw.
Champion rosette: Alan Smith.
Any other breed of sheep (non-MV)
Dun Silver Challenge Cup (best Scotch mule) Euan Waddell.
Prime lambs (non-MV)
McAlpine Silver Cup: Rob Rennie.
Open young handler
MV: Fletcher Renwick. Non-MV: Archie Hendry. Dan Buglass Memorial Trophy: Fletcher Renwick.
The Border Union Trophy: Joan Brunton. British Wool Sheep Breeders Book (reserve): Joan Brunton.
The Industrial Cup – Elizabeth Kowbel. Templeton Rose Bowl – Elizabeth Kowbel. Jean Wilson Trophy – Jan Little. Margaret Forrest Rose Bowl – Sarah Purves. Shaw Salver – Margaret Plummer. Mary Rogerson Trophy – Margaret Plummer. Kelso Pea Growers Ltd Cup – Ellie Graham. The Turnbull Salver – Fiona Dumma. The Lees Cup – Ruby Pitman. The Margaret College Shield – Carys Jones. Pat Sloan Trophy – Sophia Kowbel & Darcy Weir.
Champion: Mia Duncan – Tilly. Reserve: Alex – Sausage.
R W Brown Challenge Cup (champion): Tom Moody. Roxburgh House Salver (reserve champion): A.W. Anderson. T F Carrs Shield (best hard feather: M. Crawford. J. Halley Shield (best soft feather or true banta: A&J Robertson. The M. Crawford Cup (best exhibit bred in the current year): Tom Moody. R & L Ramsay Trophy (best waterfowl): Tom Moody. Tankard (best exhibit egg section): V. Renwick. Tankard (best junior): Laura & Eilidh Dickson.
Jedburgh Goat Group Cup/A. Carr Trophy: Hannah J Campbell – Capitol Artemis. Fionn Mist Perpetual Challenge Rose Bowl: Becky Campbell – Ladeside Lynne. The Richmond Cup: Beth Fairley - Ballingall Kloud. Whitehouse Silver Salver/JGG Rose Bowl: Beth Fairley - Ladeside Ladyriva. Highland Confectionery Cup/The Galloway Cup: Beth Fairley - Ballingall Konnie. St Michael Trophy, SSGS Shield and BGS Rosette for best goat in show: Hannah J Campbell – Capitol Artemis.
The Border Stick Dressers’ Association Challenge Cup winner and reserve: Oliver Simpson. Best Exhibit novice classes: Barry Frizell.
Agricultural: 1, Forestry Commission; 2, A B White. Non-agricultural: 1, A Hume; 2, Pearsons of Duns Ltd. Food Fair/Craft & Gift Hall/Exhibition Hall: 1, Tara Grey Photography; 2, Lindsey’s Farm Kitchen. Champion: A Hume. Reserve: Forestry Commission.