Aug 082013

Turriff’s resident population of 5,743 received a welcome boost over the weekend of 4 and 5 August when the 149th annual Turriff Show was held at The Haughs, just outside the town centre. The Turra Show as it is called locally, is one of the highlights of the farming and agricultural year in NE Scotland, and quite rightly so, writes Duncan Harley.

Farming folk from all over the UK descend on the town during the show weekend seeking livestock prizes, farming machinery and, quite frankly, lots of fun. Bargains are struck, tractors and combines are purchased and, just occasionally, wedding matches are made – just as they have been for the last century and a half of the Show’s history.

With a claimed entries total of over 802 horses and ponies plus some 43 goats on the Sunday, over 450 cattle and 580 sheep, including the return of the Bluefaced Leicester Progeny Show sheep, Turra Show is perhaps the biggest show of its kind in Scotland still going strong after 150 years of traditional agricultural shows.

The Open Dog Show on the Sunday, complete with the ever popular rabbit and cavy sections, is now affiliated and upgraded to 2-star official status. Added to this, the poultry show and the popular Companion Dog event on the Monday makes this a completely irresistible event for the non-agricultural breeders and pet fanciers of the area.

The quite exciting sideshows, funfair and extreme catering franchises also make Turra a Mecca for those seeking a weekend of bacchanalian beer and wine-soaked revelry.

With over 249 trade stands, a very well attended food fayre plus the indoor shopping mall to tour around, Turra Show is a family fun-filled affair indeed. The show exhibition hall with its lifestyle theme and the ever popular home cookery demonstrations will, as ever, attract the homemakers.

And why not?

Those seeking extreme fun should head for that Special Forestry Area and the Special Educational Area to entertain and even educate the children amongst us.

The Industrial Marquee at Turra Show is one of the largest in the country with over 1745 home-based craft exhibits and an excellent horticultural show featuring large turnips and a few enormous marrows to salivate over.

The Turriff Show is always a veritable feast and a huge fun weekend for all the family. Each of the two show days has an extensive ringside entertainment programme with many special attractions including in 2013, the awesome Quad and Motorcycle Flying Daredevil Stunt Show by Jason Smythe’s Adrenaline Tour.

Jason comes from a professional racing background in Motocross. He started competing when he was seven, progressing from multiple regional champion to British schoolboy champion, British amateur support class winner before turning pro at eighteen.

In the professional ranks he has competed in all three classes at World Championship, 125cc, 250cc and 500cc and the World Supercross Tour as well as becoming Luxembourg national champion.

At Turriff, Jason thrilled the crowd by powering his quad bike over 31ft in the air above his articulated rig before landing safely, to loud applause.

On Sunday, Turra’s family day featured some exciting Terrier Racing with Cyril the Squirrel, fine sulky-trotting, pony carriage driving and of course the famous Turriff Pipe Band.

The same day’s Showground grand finale was, as always, the Vintage Tractor and Vehicle Parade featuring agricultural vehicles from the past century, including vintage Fergusons and the local Anderson collection of Field Marshall Tractors.

A sight to salivate over indeed!

On Turra Monday the Parade of Champions was, as is fitting, a splendid climax to what must be the finest surviving agricultural show in NE Scotland.

Norman Christie of Woodside Croft, Kinnellar, Aberdeenshire came best of show in the 2012 Turra Show with his Clydesdale Anguston Amber and in this years show Norman’s quite majestic Amber Anguston came show best reserve.

This year’s best of show was Arradoul Ellie May from Buckie owned by Ian Young. The cattle “Aberdeen Angus” section was headed by Idevies Kollar of Ellon and the British Blonde champian was Whistley Dollar entered by former Turra Show chief Eric Mutch. The sheep and goats also won prizes but were unnamed as were the cavies.

Turriff, of course gained international fame almost 100 years ago as the Scottish town which stubbornly resisted Lloyd George’s National Insurance Act and its provisions for medical and unemployment benefits for farm workers and their families.

Both Lloyd George’s Liberal government and the Marxists of the time rallied against the stance of Robert Patterson of Lendrum Farm who, perhaps unwittingly, became both the focus and the willing local hero of this often humorous but politically quite sad affair. That of course is another side of the Turriff of years gone by.

The anniversary of the Turra Coo is fast approaching though, but that’s another story.

Further Reading.

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Oct 222012

Animal Concern Advice Line supporters and all people concerned with animal welfare living in Scotland are urged to participate in a public consultation closing Friday.  How animals are treated in the food chain is the subject.  John Robins of  Animal Concern Advice Line explains what is at stake to Aberdeen Voice.

The Scottish Government is currently running a public consultation on the implementation in Scotland of EU Regulation 1099/2099 which governs the welfare of animals at the time of slaughter.

These regulations could do many things to reduce the pain and suffering caused to animals killed in abattoirs.

The Scottish Government currently has the opportunity to ensure that all animals slaughtered in Scottish slaughterhouses are rendered totally unconscious prior to being killed.

However, at least one senior civil servant and a Government Minister has said the consultation process will not result in a ban on the slaughter of conscious animals. Politicians and civil servants should not be allowed to take democracy out of our hands.

We must show the people whose wages we pay at the Holyrood Parliament that the majority of the electorate want all animals to be rendered fully unconscious before being killed. No matter what you hear from politicians, be assured that these regulations could be used to totally ban the non-sentient slaughter of animals in Scottish slaughterhouses.

At a meeting held in Edinburgh on 4 April, a senior civil servant admitted Government Minister Richard Lochhead had already decided, before the consultation documents had even been drafted, that compulsory CCTV would not be included for consideration in the consultation. I denounced this as an affront to democracy and pledged to mount a public campaign to have CCTV included in the consultation.

After a series of e-mails between ACAL the Government, I was informed that the use of CCTV would now be included in the consultation. When the consultation was published, a question about CCTV was included but phrased in such a way to make it clear this would be something for future implementation and not something to be brought in now.

Once again, this is a case of our employees at the Parliament telling us what they want to do instead of waiting until the electorate tell them what we want them to do. These regulations could be used now to make it compulsory for abattoirs to install CCTV to monitor the welfare of animals from the moment they arrive at the abattoir to the time they are killed.

There are two things I would like our Scottish supporters (and any of your friends in Scotland if they are so minded) to do.

1: Please go to the Scotland for Animals website, fill in your details as indicated and make your submission to the Consultation.

2: Please write to your constituency and list MSPs via this website:
A sample letter for guidance can be found here