Not having attended The Highland Show for many years, I was greatly surprised at the wide variety of interest now offered by this celebration of country life. I could not list half of the crafts and skills on show, but some of the things that caught my attention were:
An informative lecture / demonstration on fly fishing that renewed my conviction that an expert in anything who possesses good communication skills is always worth listening to. I could easily have been persuaded to become an angler.
The birds of prey were most impressive. We are accustomed to see hawks and falcons, but here were eagles and vultures. These are seriously large birds and very beautiful in close up.
Seventeen heavy horse pairs drawing drays provided a picturesque spectacle in the main arena in the morning. What a great thing it is that so many firms and individuals are willing to put the required effort into the preservation of a glorious piece of our heritage; one that still offers environmental and commercial benefits today.
I was also very taken with the private driving classes. This is something that I really should like to try, though it is an area of horsemanship of which I know very little. I hope I am not too old to learn something new!
Both the working hunter class and the Grand Prix showjumping offered spectacular opportunities for the aspiring photographer possessed of a decent long lens. I quite surprised myself with the quality of image that my old Minolta 75-300 AF would produce at 1/500th of a second, even under slightly overcast skies through part of the afternoon.
And I have yet to mention the displays of farriery, sheep-shearing, willow weaving, dog agility, pole climbing and who knows what else. I was impressed by the singing of the Farmers' and Farmers' Wives' Choirs, who seem to have reached a high standard in a very short period of existence.
Of course the show classes themselves are the heart of the whole thing. I saw breeds of sheep that I had never even heard of and watched the parade of class winners for cattle and horses.
The whole event was well organised and informative commentaries were provided throughout. I greatly enjoyed my day.