A JOURNEY OF more than 350 miles proved no obstacle for the cattle champion at last week’s Scottish Winter Fair, Perth. Criccieth, Gwyndd-based William Owen scooped top honours with Charolais cross steer Zidane.

The 11-month-old 575kg steer was home-bred at Braich Y Saints, Criccieth, where Mr Owen runs 150 suckler cows and 900 ewes.

Judge Joseph Woodhead, a meat buyer with Lancs firm Woodhead Brothers, said picking the champion from the line-up of tremendous cattle was a hard task. But Zidane, sired by Deunawd Niagra and out of a Limousin cross dam, eventually took the silverware.

Mr Woodhead picked Shona Laird’s 630kg three-quarter Belgian Blue cross, Full Throttle, as his reserve overall. Although, he does not normally favour Belgian Blue breeding, Mr Woodhead said Full Throttle was well finished and walked well.

The 17-month-old heifer, sired by Belgian Blue bull Tamhorn Stardom and out of a Belgian Blue cross dam, was home-bred at Ms Laird’s Sunnyside Farm, Cumnock, Ayrshire.

Both Zidane and Full Throttle were later sold to the Sheriffmuir Inn, Dunblane, Perthshire, for 2700 and 1500, respectively.

Standing reserve to Zidane in the steer championship was Will Timm from Goole, Humberside with Mr T, a 20-month Blonde d’Aquitaine cross.

In the heifer championship, it was the pedigree Charolais, Strowan Umber, who stood reserve to Full Throttle. She was bred at Strowan, Crieff, Perthshire by exhibitors, Mike and Susie Melville.

In the sheep section, the Paterson family from Upper Auchenlay, Dunblane, Perthshire, took top honours with a pair of Beltex cross lambs.

Runner-up was James Whiteford, Tercrosset, Brampton, Cumbria, with his pair of Beltex cross Texel lambs.

The champion lambs sold for 240 each to Penman butchers, Crail, with the reserves making 220 apiece to Scott’s butchers, Paisley.

Pat Lawson, president of the Scottish National Fatstock Club, which organises the winter fair, said the event had provided a tremendous show of stock in all sections.

“We had 170 cattle in the show ring and almost 200 entered for the live/dead classes. And there were 100 pens of sheep. I am extremely pleased with that level of entry,” he said.

Attendance at the Perth-based event was also good, Mr Lawson added. But whether the Winter Fair returns to Perth next year, or moves to Edinburgh to join AgriScot, held at the Royal Highland Centre at Ingliston the week before, remains to be seen.

“Exhibitors want to move to Edinburgh,” he said. “We have had talks with the AgriScot team, but we didn’t reach agreement this year. We have, however, left it open and we will have one more bash to see if we can have a joint event.”