Country Shows gave Allan Rogers a taste for the farming life in the Scottish Borders
A weekend event can add value to your holiday, so it is worth checking up on what may be happening along your route.
On both sides of the border between the north of England and Scotland you can find usually find an Agricultural show. Some have been happening for over a hundred years, so the organisers have the knack of pleasing the crowds. The added bonus is that you drive through some great scenery on the way. The locations can sometimes be quite stunning.
The Shepherds' Show at Yetholm and the Berwickshire County Show in the grounds of Duns Castle are particularly impressive.
At the Berwickshire County Show, which was founded in 1885, we walked onto the large field that stretched up the side of the hill towards the castle.
Consulting the plan in our catalogue we entered an area where sheep were being judged. There was an array of breeds, Blackfaced, Suffolk, Blue Faced Leicester, Texel. We even saw Shetland Sheep that had been coloured a rather garish shade of yellow.
A girl perhaps of 12 or 13, and obviously an able young farmer, nimbly guidesd a ewe back into a pen and pinned a winning Rosette to the metal gate. No sooner has she gone than a young ram that has managed to escape from his pen came along and started to eat the blue rosette. Maybe it was jealous? a case of a not so much ‘a dog in the manger’ attitude as a ‘ram on the rampage.’
In the distance we could hear a pipe band playing and near the main ring there was a section devoted to classic and vintage cars. They were all polished and in showroom condition. Seeing them here in a country setting made me think of the days when they could have been enjoyed on peaceful roads.
Rows of stands and tents featured food outlets, rural traders and country organisations.
I bought a strip of tickets and won a bottle of ginger beer which we shared as we watched the horses tackle the jumps in the main show ring. They were sleek and polished and their riders so smartly attired it made you wonder which was the accessory for which?
A sign outside a large marquee told us it was the ‘Industrial’ tent. Now we had already seen large tractors and some fairly massive farm machinery outside, but the ‘Industry’ in the big tent was more of the personally created kind. There were cakes and hand carved shepherds’ crooks, patchwork and floral arrangements, jelly and meringues all set out for judging. We were particularly impressed by the efforts of a youngster who had created of a ‘Vegetable and Fruit Monster’ in the Age 5 and Under section.
There was so much to experience. In another tent there was a bewildering range of hens. Some seemed so exotic that they would not have been out of place if they had appeared with David Attenborough in a TV natural history documentary.
We had been blessed with a brilliantly sunny day, families enjoyed it and our best catch in 'people watching' was a couple of young sisters who swished rods in the air as they learned how to cast a line for fly fishing. Certainly as country shows go we were hooked and intend to visit again next year.
The Festival of Heavy Horse. At Ford and Etal, teenager Katie Willey from Broomfield Farm at Chopwell, clutches a winners' rosette, as she proudly leads her Clydesdale off the field.
Police horses waited to appear later in the festival
The master and the hounds added a splash of colour to the Shepherds Show at Kirk Yetholm and afterwards the hounds lingered for love and attention from the children attending the event.