The 100th anniversary of the Walls Show was always going to be special, and this year’s record entries and record visitor numbers proved it.
With the livestock in prime condition and glorious weather – dry sunny conditions under a blue and white sky with just a slight breeze – plus attractions for all the family, Shetland’s oldest show is going from strength to strength. Visitors Sue and Gwyn Stoyle described it as a “perfect day for an agricultural show”.
At the far end of the show field the kye looked impressive, their numbers “way, way up”, according to show president Peter Anderson from East Burrafirth, “so many they had to be doubled up.” Judges had a difficult job, but evenutally named a 13-month beige and white Simmental bull owned by Stuart Ridland from Westerskeld as the supreme champion.
There were record numbers of sheep entries too, said Mr Anderson: “a tremendous quantity, far more than normal”. Again this posed problems for the judges, but a three-year-old Charollais tup owned by John David Morrison from Selivoe was named overall sheep champion. Mr Morrison, who also won other awards, said: “I’m fairly delighted.”
Young Morgan Robertson, 13, from Westerskeld, who won the cup for the overall sheep champion last year, won prizes again this year. He has been working with sheep since he was “a couple of years old”.
There were plenty of ponies in the show too, who put through their paces in front of the judges, and a number of dogs and goats.
The pets included a black and white prize-winning rabbit, a tabby cat sleeping with her kittens and a prize-winning miniature duck called Daffy, owned by the Ridland family of Westerskeld.
From real animals to ones made of vegetables, the show offered attractions of all sorts. An aubergine was transformed into a sleeping black cat, butternut squash sported a pineapple top as a tail and a cabbage with an onion head and spikes of carrot was a prize-winner.
No show is complete without its princess and attendants, and they arrived in style in a cart decorated with gold a white balloons and flowers, towed by a quad. They were preceded by the Aestawest band and had the local Jarl’s Squad and youngsters in 1913 costume accompanying them.
Princess Hannah Barlow, 12, in an ivory lace top over a champagne and gold fairy-tale dress, said she was “happy but nervous”, as she waved to the crowds. It was a proud occasion too for attendants nine-year-old Aimee Irvine and Flora Quinnell, 10, who looked lovely in sparkly pale blue dresses with lacy tops.
The day delighted Mr Anderson, who said that the 100th year had gone really well: “Last year was a good year of weather and folk got more interested [in the show]. This year a couple of new faces have come and given us help setting up, it’s important because without them there’d be no show.”
All the work is done by volunteers, he added. And although he did not know visitor numbers, he gauged it at well over a thousand, making the centenary the best year ever.
• For Full coverage of the show, including more photographs and all the results, see next week’s Shetland Times.