Ailsa Smith, a solicitor in Turcan Connell’s Land & Property team, comes from a background in dairy farming in Kintyre. 


Now living and working on the East Coast of Scotland, she reminisces over her days on the farm and the memories she has growing up with the Royal Highland Show.   

As much as I do still miss the cows, I can’t say that I miss the unsociable hours which go hand in hand with dairying. I still spend plenty of time on the family farm at weekends helping my parents with the milking, feeding the calves and driving silage in the summer, but I am pleased to have progressed my career as a solicitor with Turcan Connell, focussing on agricultural law and renewables – in a way it feels like home! As a member of Turcan Connell’s Land and Property team, I have the opportunity to work in areas relating back to my roots during what is an incredibly interesting time to be involved in rural property, amongst the reforms and governance structures affecting Scottish agriculture.  

The Royal Highland Show forms a keystone of my annual calendar and has created some of my favourite memories as a child growing up. I particularly remember walking through the cattle stands and being challenged to identify the different breeds of cow, with one or two often proving tricky to identify. These fond memories of getting together with friends and family to enjoy a day or a weekend off the farm with like-minded people is incredibly valuable and I know this is a feeling shared among the wider farming community at the show.  

I’ve also been lucky enough to see the genuine impact that RHASS and the Royal Highland Show can have on peoples lives (and not just because they have seen the latest tractor model). As a teenager I worked a few shows in the RHET tent helping to teach children of all ages about the process of making butter and assisting with cookery workshops. Today my involvement has progressed from those early butter churning demonstrations to becoming a committee member for Women in Agriculture Scotland (WiAS), where our annual show breakfast last year saw our headline guest, Mike Duxbury from Inclusive Farm, speak powerfully about his work in Bedfordshire on the Inclusive Farm. The Inclusive Farm aims to provide opportunities to young people with diverse needs to get involved in farming and pursue career paths into the agricultural sector. Mike (who lost his sight at age six) wants to provide the same opportunities to young people across the UK, with the aim of having an Inclusive Farm in each of the nation’s in the United Kingdom, and it was heart-warming to hear that he has been given the opportunity to set up a similar project in Scotland this year.  

As we all know, it can be a challenging time to be in farming and the Royal Highland Show is a true celebration of the spirit of Scottish agriculture, shown by the appreciation of the crowds for the skill and effort on display across so many disciplines. The show has always been a fantastic experience and paints the sector in the light it deserves. This year I look forward to catching up with friends, family, and clients at our Turcan Connell stand! I hope the positive impact of the RHS on the Scottish agricultural sector will continue for many years to come.  


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