Here are 5 key tips for the 2024 Royal Highland Show - including what competitions to check out

RHASS
What to expect from the 2024 Royal Highland Show – we ask those in the know to give us their recommendations.

The 202nd Royal Highland Show takes place this June. Rosalind Erskine spoke to some exhibitors, stewards and organisers to find out what to expect, and their top tips for first time visitors.

The Royal Highland Show (RHS) is the highlight of many calendars in June, and this year it promises to be bigger and better than ever before.

The RHS draws in hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, and while it is arguably a draw for many farmers and business owners, there’s much more to the show than cows, sheep and tractors.

On our special partner episode of Scran, the Scotsman's food and drink podcast, I found out more about what to expect at this year’s show. Louise Elder, Director of the Royal Highland Agricultural Society of Scotland and Chief Steward of Scotland's Larder explained why the event as a gathering of rural communities is so important. She said: “For us, it's just so exciting to celebrate everything in rural Scotland, and we bring that into the show and the competitions. But we also bring it into the eating, the sharing and the celebrations around the whole show ground. It has something for everyone - if you want to stand next to a tractor, even get into a tractor, or if you want to just be up close and personal to sheep, beef, dairy, cattle, everything. It is a fantastic selection of events and as you can tell, I really, really love it. I can't wait to welcome everyone to the show.”

Finding your way around

While there is an array of livestock (6000 animals to be precise), there’s also events like pole climbing, as well as shopping areas for things like homeware, gifts and, of course, the huge numbers of food and drink producers in Scotland’s larder. Louise is keen to point out that, although there’s 180 acres of space, finding everything is easy thanks to the app and signposts. A highlight for Louise is the honey tent, which she said is ‘incredible’ as well as the sheep shearing competition.

Ian Georgeson

New this year

New for this year is the milk and cream competition, which Louise and Aylett Roan, Director & Chief Steward of Scottish Championships at the Royal Highland Show, are both excited about. Aylett also said that a must-visit is the ice cream competition judging, which will give you plenty of tips when it comes to buying ice cream. She said: “People can come in, they will get to see and listen to the judges judging, and it's unbelievable. I’ve learned so much, like why a certain type of vanilla ice cream, to me, tastes like TCP due to the type of vanilla used. All these little bits of information, especially when it comes down to chocolate ice cream, and details you’ll learn. It will blow your mind.”

Aylett also highly recommends visiting the goats, an area she used to steward. She said: “I started out being the chief steward of the goats. You need to go and visit the goats, they are amazing animals. It doesn't matter if you're having a bad day, if you're tired, if you're hungry, anything, go and visit the goats, they will just make your life so much better.”

Food, glorious food

Su Cox, Communications and New Business Development Director at Bakkafrost Scotland & Scottish Hebridean Salmon has been an exhibitor at the RHS, and said that it’s an important showcase to explain to people where their food comes from. Su also discussed the global reach of the show, and what this means for exhibitors. She said: “We had interest last year from mostly Europe. But there will be other opportunities as I think it's increasingly becoming more international.”

While there are plenty of reasons to visit, Louise explained that the RHS is something we should all be proud of, saying: “The Royal Highland Show is a celebration of Scotland. We produce and care for the countryside and it’s just an excellent show. It's a showcase we should be really proud of in Scotland, and the effort touches all our lives so that’s why, outwith the industry, it’s such an exciting and engaging event.”

Book your tickets

To find out more, and buy tickets for the 2024 Royal Highland Show, visit the website here.

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