Hugo Straker: So much to see so much to do, if you are game for a fair old day out in Perth

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The Scottish Game Fair is a true celebration of rural Scotland helping educate and debate on issues whilst showcasing game, wildlife and countryside management.

Now in its 29th year, the Scottish Game Fair is run by the charity – Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) - as one of its main annual fundraisers and is a popular highlight in the Scottish events calendar, attracting more than 30,000 visitors from across the UK to Scone Palace Parklands.

As well as providing a fun-filled day out for our many visitors, which provides vital funding for the important work we do throughout the year, we want to tell people about the Trusts’ work and also inform those working on Scotland’s magnificent land on best practice for preserving our precious wildlife.

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s flagship stand beside the main ring is a ‘must visit’ for all Fair goers; it will highlight the benefits of our research and how science can be readily translated into practical management advice that helps ensure a thriving countryside rich in game and other wildlife.

The theme for the central exhibit is Grass to Grouse and the various displays aim to showcase how sympathetic management of a hill-edge livestock farm can be efficient without loss of biodiversity and carefully integrated with sporting enterprises. Visitors will be able to see rare-breed cattle and sheep used as conservation grazers, along with other live exhibits.

Informative displays will include an array of cover and food crops available to support land managers’ shooting and conservation interests along with shrub choices for effective pheasant coverts. With legal predation control activities forever being scrutinised, GWCT professional advisors will display the latest in modern predator control techniques and trap development.

Staff from the GWCT’s upland and low ground research teams will be available to discuss current projects. This year’s lively Main Ring Programme includes lots of favourites such as the Dog ‘n’ Duck Show, spectacular axe demos from Gwynedd Axemen, the Tug o’ War and the ever-popular Terrier Racing. There will also be attractions including birds of prey, pipe bands, gun dog demos, fishing demos, dog agility and much more. The Fred Taylor Memorial Trophy for Working Hill Ponies, sponsored by John Rigby & Co for the first time, makes a welcome return on Sunday too.

New for 2017, the Fair is proud to host the inaugural Four Nations International Gundog competition on Saturday 1 July.

Teams from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales are set to compete on the island in front of the large Grandstand by the River Tay. Each team will run three spaniels and three retrievers and the competition is tipped to be one of the highlights of the Fair. The judges are ‘A’ panel judges and come from the competing nations.

The newly-revamped fishing area will include a dedicated area called The Bothy for panel discussions, presentations and Q&As with guest speakers and experts. Writer, broadcaster and fishing fanatic Fiona Armstrong will feature in a panel discussion encouraging more women to get into angling and European and World Fly Casting Champion Hywell Morgan will be demonstrating his winning technique in the Main Ring, as well as appearing at the Bothy as part of the panel discussions.

The popular shooting area offers a range of experiences and competitions for experts to those who have never picked up a gun before. Under the watchful eye of the Fair’s safety supervisors, you can compete in the Clay and Drone Shooting competitions as well as Have a Go (safety briefing and equipment provided). Ladies’ Day will return on Saturday with a fabulous prize on offer for the winner from Blues and Browns and the Junior Challenge Award will take place on Sunday.

The fantastic Food Hall is back There will be lots of delightful goodies to make up a picnic on the day and a huge array of flavoursome gifts and goodies to take home with you. The Cookery Theatre will be hosted by The Fair’s very own Foodie in Residence Christopher Trotter, This year’s guest chefs include Masterchef: The Professionals’ winner Jamie Scott among others.

Hugo Straker is chairman, GWCT Scottish Game Fair. Please visit www.scottishfair.com for more information, ticket prices and to book online to beat the queues. www.scottishfair.com