A record number of visitors flock to Royal Highland Show to sample the best of farming, food and rural life

A record 188,449 visitors flocked to The Royal Highland Show this weekend – an increase of almost 10,000 on the 2014 attendance figure (178,569) and 805 more than the last record attendance at Ingliston – 187,644 in 2010.

As always, the main focus was on around 7000 of the UK’s finest livestock, with over £225,000 of prize money and 280 trophies worth around £2,000,000 awarded.

Following closely behind in terms of popularity was the Show’s brand new food offering, Scotland’s Larder Live! Featuring over 120 of the finest food and drink exhibitors from across Scotland and the UK, Scotland’s Larder Live brought to life the main consumer message of ‘farming equals food’ and was a lively, stimulating, informative and interactive area full of smells, sights and samples.

HRH Princess Royal made a visit to the event on Friday (19th June), meeting with the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth (RASC), of which she is patron, followed by a visit to the Army’s stand, the Royal Highland Education Trust’s Education Centre (RHET) and also cast her expert eye over the Royal Highland Centre’s brand new Olympic standard all-weather show jumping ring.

Over 30,000 children attended the Show for free over the four days to learn about food, farming and the countryside, at the Royal Highland Education Trust’s Education Centre.

Joining the huge crowds, the BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year, Claire Hastings, BBC Countryfile presenter Adam Henson and some of Scotland’s finest chefs including Nick Nairn, Lady Claire MacDonald, Jacqueline O’Donnell and Adam Handling, along with a number of political figures including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Richard Lochhead MSP, attended Scotland’s largest outdoor event which contributed £47.1M to the Scottish economy in 2014.

With a focus on the Stirling area, including the Forth Valley and the Trossachs, this year’s Presidential Initiative, led by Sir Michael Forsyth, centered on making moves to improve communications in rural areas. The initiative included a seminar attended by the Chairman of O2, the Managing Director of BT Scotland and the Chief Executive of Stirling Council as well as the European Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner.

Commenting on the success of the 175th Show, RHASS Chief Executive, Stephen Hutt, said: “Once again the Royal Highland Show has lived up to its reputation as one of Scotland’s most enduring and iconic events. Along with being the place to experience the best of farming, food and rural life, it is also still very much the place to ‘do business’, with trade space selling out in record time this year.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our exhibitors, sponsors, staff and visitors, without whom the Show wouldn’t be able happen, and who enable the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) to carry out its charitable remit of promoting and protecting the interests of land based industries here in Scotland.”

Final figures – 2014 in brackets: Thursday 42,941 (38,393); Friday 47,990 (46,377); Saturday 56,202 (52,826); and Sunday 41,316 (41,063). Total 188,449 (178,659)


RHASS Announces Seven Winners for Technical Innovation Awards

The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) has awarded three gold medals, three silver medals and one certificate of commendation under its Technical Innovation Award scheme for 2015.

The gold awards, which are presented for continuous outstanding merit to a previous silver medal winner, have gone to: David Ritchie (Implements) Ltd in Forfar, for its Combi Clamp; I.C.E Comfort Slat Mats in Dublin, for its Comfort Slat Mat; and RGS Forfar Ltd in Forfar, for its ScanStone stone separator.

David Ritchie (Implements) Ltd.’s ‘Combi Clamp’ is a New Zealand designed (Wayne Coffrey), UK manufactured, sheep handling implement used for dagging, drenching, vaccinating, tagging and foot trimming of sheep and goats.  This labour saving device allows the sheep to run up the race to the clamp to be at a convenient height to carry out the required tasks without any back-breaking, manhandling of the sheep.

I.C.E Comfort Slat’s ‘Comfort Slat Mat’, invented and manufactured by the company, is the only patented mat in the world that addresses both animal welfare and the environment. The Comfort Slat Mat Green Floor System reduces cattle lameness, increases weight gain, increases milk yield, is hard wearing and the floor is cleaner and dryer that any other mat.

RGS Forfar Ltd.’s ‘ScanStone Open Fronted Stone Separator’, invented by Gordon Skea and Gary Rae and manufactured by RGS Forfar, is an open front system, which has large front intake discs, which are hydraulically controlled. This allows a consistent feed in of soil, which in turn allows the machine to deliver high output particularly in dry conditions. Specific engineering and design features on the position of the webs and share make the ScanStone Open Front the machine that it is today.

The three Silver medals have been award to: McVeigh Parker & Co Ltd, Biggar, for the ‘Clipex Fence’, a quick clip all steel post that is the latest innovation in stock fencing; Murray Machinery Ltd in Ellon for its ‘Octa-Quad Bale Handling System’, a bale handling system that transports twelve big round bales or six big square bales fully mounted on any large tractor; and a recently launched product from SoilEssentials Ltd, Brechin, the ‘Essentials Root Yield’, which allows growers to measure and yield map root crops accurately and easily.

Lastly, a certificate of commendation has been awarded to McAllisters of Patrickson, for its Wombat Pot Hole Repairing Machine, designed to repair Tarmac and also gravel type farm and forest roads. It has the ability to be mounted as a hydraulic attachment to backhoe excavators, agricultural tractors and skid steer loaders.

As always, the awards – sponsored by the Hillhouse Quarry Group Ltd, which has just signed up for a further three years of sponsorship – attracted a high number of entries. With a remit to reward innovation in the design and manufacture of machines, equipment and appliances, the awards are the oldest presented by the RHASS, which gave its first “premium” for an implement in 1793 to a “new-invented plough of an improved construction adapted for the culture of Highland farms.”

Commenting on the quality of the entries, RHASS Chief Steward John Mackie said: “There is no doubt that these awards are held in high esteem judging by the impressive number of quality entries received again this year. The Society is delighted to be in a position to award medals and commendations to these companies who have demonstrated commitment to innovation and design. We wish them well.”

Panel members were: C J Shepherd, J G Dunlop, R J Maitland, A C Stewart, J D McWilliam and W T Arnott

RHS logo refresh 2015 box BLUE



Organisers of the Royal Highland Show have attracted almost £400k in sponsorship in support of its flagship event, which this year celebrates its 175th anniversary and runs from 18-21 June at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston.

The Royal Bank of Scotland, partners of the Show since 1981, maintain their support for the four-day event for the 35th year in a row, which attracted in excess of 178,000 people in 2014.

This year the event’s other regular sponsors – McDermott Ltd, ScottishPower, Muller Wiseman, M&S, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), Norbrook Laboratories, Edinburgh Airport, Watson’s Seeds and Highland Wagyu – are joined by a host of new partners including Scottish Sea Farms, Think Local, Bruichladdich, Smith & Williamson, Falleninch Farm, Carscreugh Farm, Frazer Coogan, JBA Seed Potatoes, the MacRobert Trust, which funded the WWI Eco Garden and finally The Year of Food and Drink Scotland 2015 (VisitScotland).

The Year of Food and Drink Scotland 2015 celebrates the country’s outstanding natural larder and produce. The campaign has provided funding for the production of a Royal Highland Show 2015 ‘Food To Go’ Map.

The event’s other main sponsors for 2015 are Algo, Scottish Seafarms, Heineken, Think Local, Andrews Bowen, Global Radio and Greenspan Energy Ltd.

Taking place between 18th and 21st June, The Royal Highland Show is Scotland’s largest outdoor event, contributing £47.1m to the Scottish economy in 2014.

Stephen Hutt, chief executive from RHASS said: “As a registered charity we rely on the support of our many sponsors, which allows us to deliver our charitable remit to promote the best of farming, food and rural life.

“There is no doubting the strength and influence of the Royal Highland Show brand and the value it brings to an organisation in meeting their business objectives. We are delighted to have the ‘who’s who’ of the Scottish business community in our sponsor line-up.”

Jimmy McLean, Chairman of Agriculture at RBS, commented: “RBS has been a proud partner of the Royal Highland Show for more than 30 years. This close partnership demonstrates the importance that we, at RBS, place on our farming and agricultural customers, and the wider rural communities they support. The agri-business sector in Scotland is incredibly strong and very important, and the RHS provides an excellent opportunity to showcase this and the best of agricultural and rural Scotland. I am proud to have witnessed its growth over the years, it really is a great show.”