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Caithness ready to join celebrations for 200 years of the Royal Highland Show

By John Davidson

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Shore Seaweed will be in the Food Hall at the Royal Highland Show.
Shore Seaweed will be in the Food Hall at the Royal Highland Show.

Caithness firms are setting out their stall ahead of the 200th anniversary of the Royal Highland Show.

The Highlands and Islands are due to 'host' the show this year – despite its permanent location at Ingliston in Edinburgh.

The region has played a vital part in the event's history, with the Inverness Show in 1948 being the first to be attended by a reigning monarch, King George VI, who took the opportunity to grant the show its Royal title.

Caithness will have what organisers describe as a "significant presence" at the 2022 show.

Dunnet Bay Distillery, makers of Rock Rose gin and Holy Grass vodka, will be in the Food Hall together with Shore Seaweed, while Caithness Candle Company feature in the Home and Gift Hall.

There’s also a focus on peatland restoration in the Presidential Initiative Marquee.

Businesses and organisations across the region are planning a spectacular showcase of all that is best about the Highlands and Islands.

Show president Ewan Macdonald said: “We have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and support we’ve had from right across the region. Everybody’s delighted to have the chance to go to Edinburgh and show people the very best of the Highlands and Islands.

“Under the banner Highlands and Islands – Scotland’s Natural Capital, we’re celebrating our use of natural resources – from wave and tidal energy developments in Orkney to pumped storage hydro in the Great Glen. We’ll have a working Harris Tweed loom, Vikings from Shetland and a fully immersive experience showcasing the spectacular scenery of the Highlands and Islands.”

The annual celebration of rural life in Scotland is returning in person for the first time since the start of the pandemic and is expected to welcome 200,000 visitors over the four days starting on Thursday, June 23.

The Presidential Initiative Marquee will tell the story of the Highlands and Islands region and its innovation in three areas – tackling climate change, food and drink, and tourism.

There will be a major presence from the region in the Food Hall from established players such as Walkers to new entrants such as Box’d – the makers of Orkney Marshmallows.

And in the Home and Gift Hall there will be artisan producers and craftspeople from all parts of the north.

Highland Hiddle and Isle 20 – set up during the pandemic to provide an online presence for artists and craftspeople – will be going to the Royal Highland Show for the first time, selling products from smaller producers in the Highlands and Islands. And they will be joined by Exclusively Highlands, who moved their craft fairs to outdoor venues to meet the challenge of Covid restrictions.

The Food for Thought sessions in the Food For Thought Theatre will feature chefs and food entrepreneurs from the region such as Ghillie Basan and the Lynbreck Crofters from the Cairngorms, the Budge Sisters from Shetland, Lady Claire MacDonald from Skye and Bad Girl Bakery and Highland Food Trail duo Jeni Iannetta and Douglas Hardie from Ross-shire.

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