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An afternoon downpour did not manage to dampen the high spirits at the 2018 Skye Agricultural Show on Saturday.
Despite the inclement Hebridean weather, local residents and visitors flocked to King George V Park in Portree to enjoy a day of competition, entertainment and family fun, and to support the island’s vibrant rural life.
The day began with a line of vintage tractors leading the Isle of Skye Pipe Band into the field. Families and friends enjoyed dancing displays, a bird of prey display with harrier hawks from Skye Birds of Prey Experience, sheep shearing and farrier demonstrations, archery, crafts and trade stands, a treasure hunt, raffle, food and drink stalls, and a bar courtesy of the Isle of Skye Distillers.
For the children, Outdoor Discovery provided plenty of fun activities, with a super jumper, surf simulator, baby ball pool, inflatable fire engine and a bouncy octopus. An obstacle course helped to expend some reserve youthful energy before a refuel with an ice-cream.
The ever-popular dog show received a large and varied assortment of canine contestants competing for the coveted best in show. Judged by family-run Bernisdale veterinary clinic O’Connor-Pierce, the top title was won by Sally the Golden Retriever, owned by Christine Banks. Runner-up was Dougal, a young Skye terrier owned by Sarah Burd.
This year’s equine classes, judged by Linda Impley, qualified for the Caledonian Showing Championships which are due to be held in Fife on October 13 and 14. The Supreme Champion of 2018 went to William Gordon on Glenhaultin Charlie who also trotted away with the Champion Riding Horse trophy.
Now in its second year, the craft section saw a diverse range of talent in baking, knitting, crochet and other crafts. Lady Claire MacDonald judged the cooking classes, meanwhile Yasmin Millburn and Alison Gibb judged the craft classes. One outstanding overall winner was chosen for an intricate knitted quilt made by Jennifer MacInnes of Portree.
There was strong competition in the livestock section and judges had a challenging time deciding a winner out of pens of magnificent animals. The Supreme Champion of the day was judged by show umpire Donald Rankin and went to a North Country Cheviot sheep by Iain Beaton of Gesto Farm in Struan.
Show organiser, and agricultural consultant at the Scottish Agricultural College, Janette Sutherland said: ‘This year’s show was excellent. There was a strong show of livestock and the dog classes were very popular. It is only the second year of the craft tent and the entries were very high quality and diverse.
‘The show had lots of local organisations represented so attendees could inspect vintage tractors, watch a birds of prey demonstration or learn how to do CPR among other things. It truly is a day for all ages and a great opportunity for people to meet up.
‘The only damper on the day was the weather in the afternoon.’
Skye Councillor John Gordon had the honour of handing out the prizes at the end of the day. He said: ‘I am always impressed by the high standard of competition at the agricultural shows on Skye and the level of public support.
‘Agricultural shows such as this are of tremendous importance to our Highland communities. Not only do they enrich rural life by providing a showcase of our agricultural heritage but they also help to keep our communities strong.
‘It is wonderful to see such a large turnout of competitors, local businesses and residents who are all doing their bit to support our farmers and crofters and, at the same time, enjoying a great day out.
‘The Skye Agricultural Show always has a huge family appeal and this year the organisers have excelled themselves in putting on a great event with something for everyone.’
Janette added: ‘There are so many people we wish to thank but very special thanks go to all of our judges, umpire Donald Rankin, the volunteers who set the field up and tidied up, our competitors in all sections, the craft and trade stands, SLCVO, Councillor John Gordon for handing out the prizes, the businesses that provided the entertainment, Portree Community Centre, the Isle of Skye Distillers for running the bar tent, and to everyone who turned out to support us on the day.’
Full results for the Skye Agricultural Show may be found at www.skyeshow.org.uk