RHASS has announced a programme of family-friendly events throughout 2024 to celebrate its 240th anniversary.

They range from a cuddly toy sheep scavenger hunt over the Easter holidays to a mass Munro challenge, Harvest Thanksgiving service to a yearlong audio and visual storytelling project.

The planned activities all aim to raise greater awareness around key times in the agricultural calendar, unheard stories from across the sector, and issues that face the rural community and will all generate funds for land initiatives preserving Scotland’s countryside.

The celebrations kick off over the Easter school holidays with a nationwide scavenger hunt Hide & Sheep (sponsored by Turcan Connell and media partner the Scotsman Group).  Thousands of cuddly toy sheep will be hidden across the 8 regions of Scotland, from Shetland and the Outer Hebrides to the lowlands of the Scottish Borders. Once found, the sheep can be kept by their new owners.  With each sheep found, there’s a chance for the discoverer to win a VIP trip with their family to the 2024 Royal Highland Show – but only 8 of the flock hold this special prize! A celebration of community and tradition, the campaign will also share information with the new sheep owners of the importance of the spring period in the agricultural calendar, sharing insights on lambing, crop sowing and more.

Throughout the year, RHASS will be bringing their rich history to life through 240 Years of Stories.  Partnering with Scene & Herd and their new series of podcasts, OnRecord and media partner the Scotsman Group collecting  meaningful stories from Scotland’s rural  community, and shared through multiple media platforms throughout the year.  RHASS aims  to showcase their profound influence on countless lives and society in Scotland over the centuries, highlighting pivotal moments and acting as a form of remembrance, connection, and celebration for generations past, present, and future.

On September 21st, RHASS’ Mighty Munro Muster will see teams across Scotland  conquer all 282 Munros within a daring 12-hour window.  The mass participation fundraising event will involve over 600 participants working in unison to scale every Munro in the land in support of RHASS and Scotland’s rich rural heritage.  Applications open in April.

To mark another key milestone in the agricultural calendar, RHASS will hold a number of Harvest Thanksgiving Services across Scotland and will once again join the congregation of St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh to celebrate, while also marking their 900th anniversary – these will offer a time to reflect on the year and years gone by and celebrate the successful harvest and hard work undertaken every year to deliver food to the nation from field to fork.

RHASS was formed in 1784 to promote the regeneration of rural Scotland, as well as the preservation of its poetry, language and music.  The charity has been instrumental in supporting the advancement of agriculture and technology and in those years, as early as 1800s RHASS campaigned to standardise weights and measures.  Around the same time, the Society worked alongside famed Scottish Civil Engineer Thomas Telford in commissioning reports and surveys to support the creation of the Caledonian Canal between Inverness and Fort William.

Jim WarnockRHASS Chairman said; “The 240th Anniversary year is a huge milestone for RHASS – and we hope that these events will resonate with people across Scotland by learning something new about agriculture or the work of the Society itself. 

This year of events celebrates the achievements made over 240 years of the Society and marks the beginning of the next 240. Furthering support and advancement of the rural agricultural sector in Scotland.”

Alan Laidlaw, RHASS Chief Executive added: “Our long history of championing Scottish agriculture will be on display this year as we take RHASS on the road.  Inspiring the next generation through events like Hide & Sheep, recording and collating our oral history through members of our community young and old in 240 Years of Stories or in conversations between colleagues and friends hiking up a Munro in September. 

RHASS has always been rooted in community, and it is them that we commemorate in this anniversary year.”

Events planned throughout 2024 to celebrate the Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland’s 240th anniversary

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