Game Fair returns to Scone Palace - Iona Laing

A spectacular celebration of conservation and the countryside for over three decades, The GWCT Scottish Game Fair, sponsored by NFU Mutual, will return to Scone Palace in Perthshire this year from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 September, for its 32nd year. Here’s just a few of this year’s highlights:

Perth & District Pipe Band will entertain the crowds at the Game Fair.
Perth & District Pipe Band will entertain the crowds at the Game Fair.

Gundogs

The gundog area will host a jam-packed schedule of competitions including the Four Nations International Gundog Competition which takes place on the Saturday and sees teams from Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales competing with spaniels and retrievers. There’s also the Any Variety All Age Spaniel and Retriever Tests taking place on Friday plus a Junior Handler Competition on Sunday afternoon.

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The Main Ring

Marvel at the spectacle of the birds of prey display from Elite Falconry which includes owls and vultures. Sunday will see a special demonstration of working hill ponies from the Balmoral Estate. Across the weekend, visitors can also see the Vale of Atholl, Blairgowrie and Perth & District Pipe bands plus displays from the Jedforest Foxhounds and Dynamic Dogs.

Kitchen Theatre

Join Amy Rankine on a foraging expedition through the grounds of Scone Palace - one on Friday and one on Sunday - see Gleneagles’ executive sous chef Richard Dalgleish prepare a delicious venison dish or watch Praveen Kumar prepare a game bhuna curry. With five presentations a day there’s more than enough for visitors to sink their teeth into.

The Covey

Kids can visit the Bio-bus at the Covey Tent, the state-of-the-art mobile lab, and become disease detectives, or look through microscopes and talk to scientists. Enjoy countryside stories being read in the giant bird nest. Young artists can join Julian Jardine in his ceramic workshops, free for all and take part in the Bidwells’ Planet Positive workshop. The Angus Moorland Group will be showcasing aspects of life in the hills from spraying sheep to plucking pigeons. Life in the Dee is also on show with lots of great activities.

VIP Enclosure packages

The Grouse package (£87) includes entry to the event along with a copy of the official show guide, plus access to purchase an otherwise sold-out forward parking spot, along with a breakfast created by chef Tim Maddams and all-day entry to the VIP Enclosure, garden, lounge and more. The Stag package (£137) includes all of this plus a two-course lunch again with a specially curated menu from Tim.

Fishing

On Fisherman’s Row; located on the banks of the River Tay, you can learn about everything from fly tying and fishing conservation to casting techniques and the latest equipment on the market. Pop by the Casting Clinic where GAIA fly casting instructors and guides will be on hand to teach you how to cast a fly.

Shooting

Organised by Pentangle Shooting Services and Buchan Fieldsports, there are clay shooting stands set up for novices and experts alike. Qualified instructors will be on hand to guide visitors. Clays, cartridges and safety protection are provided. Competitions include a 40-bird competition (for participants, with their own gun with daily prizes for each category: open, ladies and junior (under 18).

Falconry

With fun and educational commentary, Elite Falconry will present a whole variety of birds of prey including owls, eagles and vultures. Far from showcasing tricks and gimmicks, the birds will only fly in a way that demonstrates their behaviour in the wild. With two demonstrations a day taking place in the main ring at 11.30 and 15.05, there’s also an opportunity to view the birds up close during a static display where visitors can ask staff any burning bird questions.

Shopping

With over 400 exhibitors showcasing everything from the finest fudge and gin to quality country fashion brands, fieldsports accessories and much more, there are plenty of opportunities to shop.

Much more information at www.scottishfair.com

Iona Laing, Education and Events Officer, GWCT Scotland

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