If I had a pound for every person who has said to me “I used to love going to the Royal Highland Show as a child but I haven’t been for years”. My answer to them is “Why not?”.
For four days the finest farmyard animals, the best food and drink, the most accomplished riders, spectacular entertainment and shopping at every turn arrives at Ingliston. It is nearly 200 acres of inspiration that will evoke memories and create lasting new ones.
When did you last see a sheep being sheared, a calf sucking a cow, a live cookery demonstration with celebrity chefs, a parade of hundreds of farmyard animals or the thundering hooves of the Clydesdales off for a canter around the main ring?
Have you ever tasted Scotland in one day or chatted to the artisan producer who made that food? At the show you can do all of that and plenty more.
Yes I am a champion of the show, but I’m not alone. Each year nearly 200,000 people make their way to Edinburgh from across the country, to experience Scotland’s rural life in glorious technicolour. And no, it’s not just for farmers.
In fact, I think it is more like farmers putting on a spectacle for the non-farming community as they can show what we get up to on the other 361 days of the year, when we are not at the Royal Highland Show. This year, our ‘face’ of the show belongs to Skye the Highland Cow, who you’ll soon be seeing on billboards across the country in the coming weeks.
Skye was born and brought up on a small farm in Kelty, Fife, and is a fine example of the wonderful livestock being bred by dedicated farmers across Scotland. Skye was crowned Breed Champion at last year’s show and she will be back again this June to thrill the crowds and hopefully come away with another rosette.
I read the findings of recent research that revealed that more parents are looking for educational outings for their children. The Royal Highland Show is one non-stop learning experience.
Accompanied children aged 15 and under get to experience the show for free and there is a huge emphasis on engaging our young people.
From making a healthy lunch, to milking a ‘cow’, to churning butter and taking part in our Tram Trail challenge to win an iPad. It’s there and waiting for inquisitive minds to meet the people who grow and rear their food. There’s also the chance to take part in some great outdoor activities, climb on giant tractors and get nose-to-nose with farmyard animals.
Scotland’s Larder Live! is Scotland’s largest food and drink festival with an abundance of food from every region. Our Scottish Bread, Cheese and Butter Championships will take place at the show bringing together quality producers and the ingredients for the ultimate cheese sandwich!
The show also hosts competitions for ice cream, honey and handcrafts – entries are open now, so if you’re a budding crafter, head across to the show website for details on how to enter the Christmas-themed competition for this year.
The show is for all generations of the family, for foodies, for animal lovers, for shoppers – essentially everyone who loves a good day out.
A visit to the Royal Highland Show is an unforgettable experience, not only for those already involved in the rural industries, but for those who have never even set foot in a farmyard, but would like to know more. Making time to speak to the farmers, the producers and those working in rural Scotland is really worthwhile. Our rural sector has shaped Scotland – its people, food and landscape…essentially its way of life. By bringing together the country’s best food, entertainment, livestock and rural skills, you can experience our unique culture in one day at the Royal Highand Show and meet the people who make Scotland the best country in which to live and work in.
Join us at the Royal Highland Centre from 20 - 23 June this year – I’ll bet you a pound that you’ll be back!
James Warnock, chairman, the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland.