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Bower Young Farmers crowned Highland Rally winners – with Forss and Halkirk close behind


By John Davidson

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The Young Farmers with their certificates and trophies at the 2023 Highland Rally.
The Young Farmers with their certificates and trophies at the 2023 Highland Rally.

Caithness teams stole the show at the Highland Rally on Saturday, with groups from the county taking the top three spots in the contest.

The annual event took place at the Black Isle Show Ground in Muir of Ord by kind permission of the Black Isle Show Society.

It saw members coming together for another full day of rally fun, hosted by RNI District and with NFU Mutual as main sponsors.

The Hamilton Auction Mart Trophy is awarded annually to the overall top placed club at the Highland Rally.

This year’s winners were Bower Young Farmers (YF) with 96 points, while Forss YF came in second with 73 points and third place went to Halkirk on 56 points.

The day started with an impressive array of baking, handicrafts and team entries in the industrial section. Bower won the Nan Howie Silver Salver for most points in baking with 84 points, second equal was Inver Ross YF and Forss YF with 47 points.

The Press & Journal Rose Bowl for club with the most points in the industrial section was also won by Bower YF with 55 points, second place was Halkirk YF with 44 points and third was Inver Ross YF with 41 points.

The stockjudging took place in the morning with 161 members from each of the six competing clubs taking part. The first placed team, winning the Farming News Trophy, was Bower A – John Forbes, Alistair Macarthy and Jak Murray – with 874 points, in second place was Bower C – Abbie Gunn, Isla Mackay and Caitlin Coghill – with 859 points and in third with 857 points Forss J – Robbie Levack, James Mackay and Rhianna Mackay.

The best individual and winning the Day Challenge Cup was Bower member William Campbell, while the top placed female with a score of 305 was Bower member Erin Hewitson. Tilly Munro, Inver Ross was second placed female with 298 points and in third place was Lena Campbell, Forss with 266 points.

In the junior section first went to Erin Hewitson, Bower, second to Benjamin Rogers from Bower with 303 points and third to Tilly Munro, Inver Ross with 298 points.

The practical competitions included digger handling thanks to Scot Agri who kindly provided the digger and judge. Special mention goes to Michael Hunter of Nairn, who was the only member to complete the challenge with no faults.

The quickest time in setting up a sheep race, which proved a tricky and time consuming task, was achieved by Halkirk members Lynn Ronaldson and Kris Sutherland with an impressive time of 6 minutes and 49 seconds.

Fault finding was kindly supported by Netherton Tractors who provided the tractor and judge. Identification proved a real talking point with some of the items provided.

The overall winners for the practical section were Halkirk YF with 40 points, in second place was Forss with 35 points and in third place was Inver Ross with 33 points.

The sports took place in the afternoon, where members competed in boys' five-a-side football, girls' five-a-side football, tossing the sheaf and tug of war.

The overall winners for the sports section were Bower YF with 33 points, second place was Forss with 30 points and in third was Inver Ross YF with 14 points.

Rally convenor Margi Campbell said: "It was so lovely to see so many attendees – about a third more than we hoped for – and it made for a really close and interesting day of competition.

"We were really thankful for a lovely day weather-wise and grateful for the help of so many that make the day run smoothly. Congratulations to Bower on their overall win."


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