Cunningsburgh Show enjoyed a day of mostly sunshine and just a few showers, in temperatures that were ideal for the animals and very pleasant for the hundreds of visitors.
The 70th annual show attracted 2,833 entries, with the standard in all categories as high as ever, according to the judges.
Entries ranged from huge kale plants in the produce section to delicate flower arrangements, goodies from loaves to cupcakes in the bakery section and a huge assortment of knitted items featuring lace and Fair Isle.
Handcrafts were as stunning as ever, with a prize-winning wooden shirt looking just like the real thing placed top in the woodwork section, and a model fishing boat that took three years to make and weighing over three stones scooping the first prize in another section.
Photographer Jim Nicolson won the overall prize and cup for his photo of an owl catching a vole, and children’s work was represented by delightful illustrations on a paper plate, or mythical vegetable characters. Seven-year-old Alfie Orr excelled in this category with his pineapple crocodile eating a water melon turtle.
The real animals make the show, and this year entry numbers were well up. An armful of sheep trophies were won by Bobby Poleson of Swinister, Northmavine, whose Suffolk gimmer was overall sheep champion. This was one of two lambs he bought from Orkney last year – the other was named reserve champion, and Bobby also had the Cheviot sheep champion. All the six sheep he entered won prizes of some sort, and Bobby said he would like to thank his grandparents on whose croft they were bred.
Sheena Anderson of Ollaberry won top prizes for a Shetland heifer not in calf, and was awarded Shetland cattle champion, supreme cattle champion and reserve show champion. Sheena, who works as a nurse and has been around cattle since the age of two, said she was “over the moon” because this year’s champion also won last year as a calf.
Overall champion horse was Alison Rennie’s Gems Black Adder, affectionately known as Henry, who “just loves jumping”. And at the other end of the scale, a tiny “poochon” dog, a bichon frise crossed with a mini-poodle, won best overall pet.
The show had a high profile visitor in Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who was kept busy at the Better Together tent, especially discussing the referendum. Ms Davidson said: “It’s a very personal decision. I used to work for the BBC and was in the TA, and I don’t want to see Britain broken up. I feel very proud to be Scottish but I feel British too – we helped build the UK and the [UK’s] successes are our successes too. As Scots we get to be both Scottish and British, Alex Salmond is taking this away and won’t tell us what we’re getting in its place.”
Ms Davidson added: “I believe in localism, and have been appalled how much power has been sucked into Edinburgh. Devolution shouldn’t stop at Holyrood…what works in Glasgow doesn’t necessarily work in Voe, for example.”
Show president Kenneth Mackenzie pointed out that the show is politically impartial, and “always welcomes all politicians”. He was relieved the weather had been “not too hot, not too cold”, and pleased with the way the public had supported the event.
He said: “A lot of painstakingly-made exhibits have been made with great skill, and the exhibitors have to be commended for raising the standard yet again. The stallholders had a waiting list this year and the hall had a very good day.”
Former SNP candidate Willie Ross, a show stalwart for around 30 years, now based in Inverness, presented the 120 trophies, which he said was “quite an honour”. He added: “I was pleased to do it – it’s good to see the show going from strength to strength. I was on the committee for 25 years and it was a big part of my life. I’m glad to be here and I’m looking forward to coming back.”