Last week’s rebranded Royal Highland Winter Fair – replacing the show’s previous incarnation, the Scottish Winter Fair – certainly drew a quality show of stock, but unfortunately a relatively sparse crowd turned out for the event.
However, come championship judging time, both the sheep and cattle rings were thronged with farmers and butchers eager to offer their opinions on the day’s entries.
And in the cattle section there was rapturous applause as a clear crowd favourite and one of the season’s most admired beasts took the top award under judge Donald MacPherson, Berwick.
Described by Mr MacPherson as faultless, Robin Roberts and Leri Hughes’ Charolais cross heifer Smarty Pants had stood heavyweight and overall heifer champion before going on to add the championship to her impressive haul.
Having paid less than £1000 for Smarty Pants as a calf, Mr Roberts and Miss Hughes had collected a number of other awards with her this season, including the overall award at the East of England Winter Stock Festival early in November. Smarty Pants weighed in at 630kg on the day and is out of a Limousin x Welsh Black dam. Bred by the Jones family, she went on to sell for £7000 to T Hughes, Anglesey.
Standing reserve to Smarty Pants was the lightweight and overall steer champion, Tommy Zoom from Bertie Patsy Paton. This one is by Limousin sire Loosebeare Amazon and out of an Aberdeen Angus cross dam and was bred by James Baillie on Orkney. Having tipped the scales at 520kg, Tommy Zoom went on to sell for £2000 to Messrs Scott of Dundee.
The commercial calf show saw a win for noted show calf breeder Andrew Anderson with his Limousin-sired steer Ade-by-Ali, a March-born entry. This one weighed 395kg and pipped one of the season’s most succesful calves, John Smith-Jackson’s Mamma Mia from Haltwhistle, Northumberland, to the overall award. Mamma Mia is by Limousin sire Shire Apollo and weighed 335kg.
Champion honours in the cattle section at the Royal Highland Winter Fair went to Robin Roberts and Leri Hughes’ much-fancied Charolais cross heifer, Smarty Pants.
Across in the sheep section, it was the turn of youthful endeavour to triumph over age and experience when first-time exhibitor Michael Dunlop, Biggar, led a pair of Beltex-sired lambs to first the Young Farmers title, then the butchers’ lamb championship, and finally the overall championship.
By an Airyolland tup, this pair were described by judge Brian Glaves, Scarborough, as absolute perfection. “From the shoulders through to the loins and down to the gigot, these were absolutely outstanding lambs.” They later sold for £260 a head.
Reserve spot in the sheep section went to the reserve champion butchers’ lambs, a pair of Beltex-sired lambs from John Guthrie and family, Muthill, Perthshire. They were by a homebred tup from Mr Guthrie’s 25-ewe Cuiltburn flock and weighed in at 86kg.
In the Aberdeen Angus calf show, the championship went to John Gilmour with his November 2007-born yearling bull Belhaven Ecclesiastic, by Rawburn Lord Ross and out of Idvies Evita. Reserve overall went to the reserve male champion, January 2008-born bull calf Balmachie Black Bear from Carnoustie breeder John Lascelles. Again by Lord Ross, he is out of Blelack Blackbird E350.
- For more results and photos from the Royal Highland Winter Fair and live coverage of this week’s Royal Smithfield Christmas Fair, see www.fwi.co.uk/takingstock