The Royal Highland Show 18th-21st June. To celebrate this year’s, 175th anniversary we bring you 10 Facts, Past and Present about the show.
1. Why Highland?
The Highland in the show name is not geographic or related to the Highland Games. It comes from the name of the organising body, the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland.
The Society was formed in 1787 to promote agricultural interests and education and also the study of the Gaelic language and Scottish music and poetry. The protection of Highland culture was a big issue at the time following the repression of Highland dress and culture after the Jacobite Rebellions. The Highland title has remained ever since.
2. The first ever form of the RHASS show was held in 1822 in Queensberry House in the Cannongate area of Edinburgh.
It was attended by about 1000 members of the farming community, the public, and “between sixty and seventy five cattle”, eight New Leicester sheep and “two beautiful pigs.”
3. What’s so Royal about the Royal Highland Show?
Well, the answer is that until 1948, when George VI bestowed the Royal title on the show, not so very much.
Plenty of Royals dropped by, beginning with the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) in 1859, at the time a 17 year-old student at Edinburgh University. Queen Victoria was an ordinary member and in 1894 the Duke of York (later George V) became President of the Society. Since then there have been many Royal Presidents and Honorary Members.
Until the show found its permanent home at Ingilston in 1960, it had moved around the country. Each regional branch of the RHASS took turns to host the show. If that approach had continued then the Stirling area, stretching from the Forth Valley across to the Trossachs, would have been this year’s hosts.
To commemorate this heritage, a “President’s Initiative” is organised by the nominated region each year. The 2015 President’s Initiative highlights the isolation experienced by rural communities with poor telecommunications and limited or no access to high speed broadband.
On a lighter note…..
5. Well Coiffed Coos
In a world obsessed with celebrity glamour it’s refreshing to attend an event where the cows have the best hair.
The Royal Highland Show attracts 5,000 of the finest cattle, sheep, goats, horses and poultry in the country and you can bet that on the day, all of them will have had more care lavished on their appearance than you have.
6. Record Breaking Haggis
In 2014 Hall’s unveiled the World’s biggest haggis at the Royal Highland Show. The haggis weighed 1,010 kg and (2,226 lb 10 oz) – that’s just over 1 ton – and measured 2.8 m (9 ft 2 in) in length, 0.93 m (3 ft) in width and 0.65 m (2 ft 1 in) in height.
7. Beefy Boys in Kilts
The Royal Highland Show is a mecca for the beefy boy in a kilt photo-op. Above is a classic in the genre, as said kilted beefy boy attempts to show a sheep whilst looking cool and as though he does this every day. He almost pulls it off……actually, no he doesn’t. Not even close. Still nice kilt and quite handsome…the sheep that is.
8. Equestrian Excellence
The Royal Highland Show is the largest equestrian show in Scotland with almost 3,000 horses and ponies competing for a total prize fund of £45,000. There are 38 categories in total, including nine much sought after Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) qualifiers.
9. Food and Drink
There are over 120 food and drink producers at the Royal Highland Show and according to show organisers over 42% of visitors come to experience the food and drink. A statistic that made us think the other 62% must be very hungry and thirsty.
10. The Mud
The Royal Highland Show would not be the Royal Highland Show without rain. Yes, we know there have been years without rain and even years that it’s actually been warm, but nobody remembers those years. What people remember is the mud. 2012 was a vintage year for mud.
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