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Caithness County Show organisers delighted to welcome everyone back


By Alan Hendry

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All smiles the last time the County Show was held at Thurso East, in 2018. Picture: Alan Hendry
All smiles the last time the County Show was held at Thurso East, in 2018. Picture: Alan Hendry

After an absence of 1092 days, the County Show is back. Covid restrictions led to cancellations in 2020 and 2021, but organisers say they are delighted to welcome everyone to the show field for the biggest event of the year in the agricultural community and a traditional highlight of the social calendar.

The show is regarded as one of the best in the north and is set to be a resounding success at Thurso East on Friday and Saturday thanks to the efforts of the hard-working Caithness Agricultural Society committee.

This year's president is John Murray. “My family have a long-standing involvement within the County Show and I am proud to be the fourth generation within the Murray family to hold the presidency, with the first being in 1932, 90 years ago," he said.

"The show has always been a great showcase of local talent and the continuing efforts of our farming community to produce the best the north has to offer.

"It has been three years since the last County Show, and it’s safe to assume Covid-19 has been a hardship on us all, so I would like to say I am so thankful to all of my committee members for not only allowing me to keep my appointment as president for the past couple of years but also for the support and commitment they have shown to ensure the 2022 show is able to go ahead.

"I would also like to say a huge thank-you to all the sponsors, trade stands, entrants and visitors who are planning to join us this year. Let’s hope it’s a show to remember!”

Mr Murray's vice-president is James Barnetson and junior-vice president is Iain Miller.

Secretary Nicola Macleod reports that the livestock entries are excellent given the hiatus since the last show and the fact that organisers are unable to hold a poultry competition due to the avian influenza outbreak.

She thanked the agricultural community for its continued support of the show. The total number of entries is 840, including 313 horses, 430 sheep, 45 cattle and 19 goats, as well as 32 entrants between the fleece and vintage machinery classes.

John Murray, this year's County Show president.
John Murray, this year's County Show president.

The main ring attraction this year is Broke FMX freestyle motocross. Show-goers can expect to see amazing stunts and high-flying motorcycle acrobatics in the adrenaline-fuelled act which is sure to be a big hit.

In the Young Farmers' tent there will be a bottle stall, nail in the bale, pet lambs and various children's activities. Also on display will be the handicrafts for the Kennedy Cup which this year is safari-themed.

Also set to be popular with audiences is the Young Farmers' gunging, taking place in the main ring at 4.30pm. Several well-known locals have stepped forward willing to be gunged to raise money for the Caithness branch of the Riding for the Disabled Association.

The ballot will be situated within the Young Farmers' tent, so people are invited to dig deep and cast their vote for who they’d like to see gunged!

The Northern Quality Produce marquee will be packed with a mix of food, drink and craft stands. Twenty exhibitors will be taking part with several new stands showcasing their wares, including Clyth Charcuterie, Shore Seaweed, Loaf, Orkney Marshmallows and North Point Distillery.

In addition, there will be the flower show and open industrial sections, as well as a variety of trade stands including Gow Groundworks, Allans of Gillock, Caithness Livestock Breeders and Caithness Machinery Ring.

Other activities around the show field will include the dog show and sports programme, featuring musical entertainment by Caithness Junior Pipe Band, children’s races and the driving turnouts.

Kris Sutherland, Dunbeath Farms, took the supreme cattle championship and champion of champions title at the last County Show in 2019 with his commercial champion, Sassy Lady, a March-born Limousin cross heifer after the AI bull Lodge Hamlet. Picture: Ann-Marie Jones / Northern Studios
Kris Sutherland, Dunbeath Farms, took the supreme cattle championship and champion of champions title at the last County Show in 2019 with his commercial champion, Sassy Lady, a March-born Limousin cross heifer after the AI bull Lodge Hamlet. Picture: Ann-Marie Jones / Northern Studios

The main ring will welcome entrants to the Caithness HAS got Talent competition. Any talent is welcome, and entries will be taken on the day at the secretary’s bus, with entrants having the chance to scoop a £200 prize.

The show will feature the usual range of equestrian events, with the working hunter classes and show jumping on the Friday.

There will be a funfair on site and show-goers can expect to see some delightful magic displays.

Look out for the vintage tractor and machinery display as well as a visiting display of vintage milking equipment.

Those who love a selfie will be keen to try a new addition to the show field – the pop-up photo booth. Don't forget to tag #caithnessshow2022 when taking your snaps on the day.

Saturday admission is £10 per adult, £6 for concessions and £5 for children, while under-fives get in free. Prices for Friday are £5 for adults and £2 for concessions and children, with youngsters under five again admitted free of charge. There is no charge for car parking.

After the show, a buffet dance will be held in Thurso's Weigh Inn Hotel with live music provided by Cover2Cover. Tickets are £20 and £10 for the dance only and can be bought at the secretary's bus during the show or at the door on the night if there are any tickets remaining.

Related stories:

President Elaine pays tribute to team effort after County Show success

Sassy celebration as County Show supreme title goes to Dunbeath Farms

County Show judges 2022

Champion of champions: Hamish McLean, Aberlour

Horses

Overall horse: Jack Clark, Galashiels. Clydesdale, any other heavy horse and donkey: Eric Johnstone, Muir of Ord. In-hand and working hunter: Karen Mowat, Munlochy, Ross-shire.

Ridden: Morag Snow, Incharvie Stables, Fife. Shetland: D Burnett, Ellon, Aberdeenshire. Highland: The Hon Mrs A D Leslie Melville, Inverness-shire.

Cattle

Robert Marshall, Inverurie.

Sheep

Overall sheep: Hazel McNee, Over Finlarg Farm, Dundee. Border Leicester, half-bred, commercial and accredited: Jack Clark, Galashiels. Suffolk and Continental: Alan Rae, Mains of Orchardstown, Ellon, Aberdeenshire.

Prime lambs and cross: R Mackay, Thura Mains, Bower. North Country Cheviot: Alastair Armstrong, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Cheviot hill: Martin Mackay, Durness.

Blackface, Lleyn and native: Peter Myles, Dalbog Farm, Angus. Texel (MV accredited): Archie Hamilton, Lanark. Texel (non-MV accredited): Charles Angus, Oldfield Farm, Thurso.

Other

Fleeces: Colin Steell, British Wool, Evanton. Goats: I Angus, Oldfield Farm, Thurso. Vintage machinery: M Munro, The Wells, Milton.

Driving turnouts: M and E Munro, The Wells, Milton. Trade stands: E Miller and J Barnetson. Dog show: S Mackay, Caithness.

Open industrial

Baking: Lorna Swanson, Tister Farm, Halkirk. Handicrafts: Eva Swanson, Bylbster, Watten. Photographs: Alan Hendry, Highland News and Media, Wick.

Pre-school/junior/intermediate: Jenny Dunnet, Linkmoor, Canisbay. Art: Lindsey Gallacher, Lindsey Gallacher Jewellery and Art.

Eggs: Don Manson and Sue Simpson, Larel, Allandale, Halkirk. Dairy: Margaret Miller, Whitefield, Thurso.

Flower show

Pot plants: Steven Buttress. Cut flowers: Mr Weyland and Lynne Read. Floral art: Pat Smith. Children’s: Vicky Ross

Jacqueline Munro riding her Clydesdale, Prince William of Aikers, at the last County Show in 2019. Picture: Alan Hendry
Jacqueline Munro riding her Clydesdale, Prince William of Aikers, at the last County Show in 2019. Picture: Alan Hendry

Entry numbers:

Horses

Clydesdale 16

In-hand 51

Horse and pony ridden 58

Working hunter 62

Highland pony 26

Shetland pony 53

Show jumping 41

Driving turnouts 1

Side saddle 5

Total 313

Cattle

Aberdeen-Angus 1

Shorthorn 5

Simmental 3

Continental 5

Commercial 20

Young Farmers 4

AI 7

Total 45

Sheep

Border Leicester 10

Suffolk 35

Half-bred 10

Prime lambs 22

North Country Cheviot 81

North Country Cheviot (groups) 4

NNC wool 3

Cheviot hill 52

Blackface 29

Native 38

Lleyn 8

Commercial 11

Cross 12

Texel MV accredited 35

Texel non-MV accredited 33

Any other Continental 47

Total 430

Other

Donkey 1

Goats 19

Fleece 22

Vintage machinery 10

Total 52

Total entries 840


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