Farming: Show lives up to its name with spotlight on Highlands

Fittingly, given its name, this year’s 200th anniversary Royal Highland show will throw a focus on businesses from the Highlands and Islands.

With arrangements for a real show well in hand following the cancellation in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid pandemic, the presidential team which sees each region take its turn to act as hosts – reflecting the movement of the show itself in the days before it settled in its permanent home at Ingliston, outside Edinburgh – hails from the Highlands and Islands .

“We’re immensely proud to have the chance to be host region in this very special year for the Royal Highland Show,” said Honorary President Ewan Macdonald.

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He said it gave farmers from the region the chance to demonstrate how they had survived and thrived for centuries in that part of the world - by using the abundant natural resources.

With the theme “Scotland’s Natural Capital – Highlands and Islands”, a specially created exhibition will focus on tourism and culture, food and drink, as well as renewable energy and tackling climate change, said Macdonald.

“The various zones will tell the story of a region which has always used its natural resources to innovate from the first commercial hydro scheme in the country at Loch Ness to the groundbreaking marine energy centre at Stromness.

The show organisers said that more than 70 businesses and organisations from the Highlands and Islands region were set to take part in the Show – from established players such as Johnston’s of Elgin and Walkers to younger start-up companies such as Box’d, the makers of Orkney Marshmallows who emerged during the pandemic, and Blacksmith James Ritchie from Muir of Ord.

The Presidential Initiative Marquee at the show will tell the story of the Highlands and Islands Region and its innovation in three areas – tackling climate change, food and drink and tourism.

A large section of the popular Food Hall, Scotland’s Larder has also been given over to Highlands and Islands food producers while a number of craftspeople and artists from the area will also be there to sell their wares.

For Isle20 and Highland Hiddle – both set up during the pandemic to provide an online presence for artists and craftspeople – this will be the first opportunity to attend the Royal Highland Show.

And together with Exclusively Highlands they will provide a showcase for the smaller exhibitors to reach up to 200,000 visitors who will attend the Show over the four days from Thursday, 23 June to Sunday, 26 June.

“Many of these small producers could never consider attending the show on their own, but through grants we’ve been able to make it more affordable so they can test the water,” said Macdonald.

“And we’re delighted to have such a spread of talent from across our whole region.

"This is our chance to show the rest of the country the fantastic place we call home. It’s always been a place where we turn our challenges into opportunities.”

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