Neil Thomson celebrates 200 years of the Border Agricultural Society

Firstly, I am not talking about the Rugby.

Friday 18 January is not a date that you would normally be baling straw in the northern hemisphere. But that’s what we were doing! There was some frost (and, I have to admit, snow) so I figured that the ground would carry. I called Chris our balerman, who was incredulous that I should be considering it, but out he came, and 160-odd big square bales later we had some ground cleared.

Needless to say there were some very soft bits of the field and I was thankful for our sturdy chain with which to pull him out. The cows, however, were not at all impressed with their bedding material that day, but I have to declare myself satisfied with our day’s work.

Some of my friends couldn’t quite believe what we had been up to when we met the following Tuesday. Nearly 500 farmers, landowners and VIPs, including guest of honour the Countess of Wessex, gathered in Kelso for a lunch to celebrate the start of the bicentenary year of the Border Union Agricultural Society.

This event was the first of many taking place over the next 12 months to mark this milestone in the life of a society which started 200 years ago to the day when a group of landowners met in Kelso and created a society that “would help to drive through vital improvements in one of the country’s most important industries”.

The whole day was an enormous success, as you can see from the photos on the society Facebook page, and a huge amount of credit to all those that were involved in making the day so memorable. Even the speeches were brilliant, and amazingly 50 tables were each given the most tender, perfectly cooked and tasty piece of sirloin to be carved at the table. Now, isn’t it just as well the big knives were taken away from us all before the drink kicked in later?

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