14 June 2002

£40M BOOST FOR THE ROYAL HIGHLAND SHOW

The Royal Highland Show opens its doors next Thursday for a

four-day celebration of Scottish farming excellence.

Shelley Wright looks at how the show has changed since 2000

BETTER access and layout, and enhanced facilities are just some of the improvements organisers promise visitors to this years Royal Highland Show.

Since the last show, in 2000, there have been more developments on the Ingliston showground than in the previous 40 years that the show has been held on the site, say organisers, the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS).

The show moved to its permanent site, the Royal Highland Centre at Ingliston, in 1960, having previously moved to different venues each year since its inception in 1822.

The RHASS is in the midst of a £40m development plan, which, it hopes, will transform the Royal Highland Centre into Scotlands national showground and one of Europes leading show and exhibition venues.

New additions on view to showgoers this year include the Countryside Area. This seven acre site has been developed over the past 18 months to include a new entrance to the showground – the new West Gate – and a one-acre loch.

Displays of fly-casting around the loch and falconry demonstrations will take place throughout the four-day show.

Upmarket trade stands

Some upmarket trade stands will be located in the countryside area, and there is a new food court beside the loch.

A new livestock display area, which forms the first phase of the new exhibition hall, will also be in use for the first time. It measures 60m by 140m and has an umbrella-like roof. It will house beef and dairy cattle this year.

Then, after the show, the development of the building will continue, resulting in a new multi-purpose exhibition centre.

After the devastation of the foot-and-mouth epidemic, which forced the cancellation of last years show, organisers are delighted that about 4000 cattle, sheep, horses and fowl will be at Ingliston this year.

The show attracts about 150,000 visitors over the four days, making it the largest single event in the Scottish calendar.

As well as watching stock compete for trophies and prize money worth almost £1m, visitors can also learn more about the variety of breeds on display in stock tours, where experienced stockmen and women conduct guided tours of the stock lines.

Once again this year, one of the main attractions for many will be the Food from Scotland exhibition, held in the Royal Highland Exhibition Hall.

The exhibition is the largest in the world dedicated to Scottish food and drink and offers visitors the chance to sample from a vast array of the very best of Scotlands larder and kitchen.

SHOWDATA

&#8226 Where? Ingliston, next to Edinburgh Airport

&#8226 When? June 20-23

&#8226 How Much? Thur/Fri: Adults £16, OAPs and students £10; Sat/Sun: Adults £15, £10 concession as above. Free admission for under 16s accompanied by adult. £2/ticket discount for groups of 25 or more. Car parking £4/day. Opening time: 8am