VISITOR'S to this year’s Royal Highland Show will have the opportunity to see animals in action and try their hand at some traditional skills. These form part of the programme of lifestyle activities, rural crafts and entertaining displays with in the Countryside Area of Scotland’s largest annual celebration of farming, food and rural life.

Working animals, from gundogs to ferrets, will demonstrate their training in the main arena, with a liberal dose of fun facts and interviews from experienced show commentator John Lamb. Huge eagles and vultures will stretch their enormous wings in an impressive flying display over the showground.

Dogs are a mainstay of rural working life and this year’s programme includes three crowd-pleasing canine events. The Quack Commandos, Sealpin Gundogs and Ore Country Terriers all make a welcome return to Ingliston.

Rural crafts, culture and heritage are as strongly represented as ever within this year’s

Countryside Area. Fly-fishing master and mentor Andrew Toft will capture the crowds with his casting expertise.

Patrick McGlinchey from the Backwoods Survival School will demonstrate his bush-craft and wilderness living skills and recount stories of his experiences out in the wilds.

Visitors will have the chance to learn a new rural skill from a range of hands-on activities. The Croft House exhibition includes typical home crafts and daily tasks which would have gone on in a croft house. Adults and children alike can have a go at kneading dough for bannocks, shaking cream to make butter, producing yarn from a drop spindle or peeling rushes for candle-making. There will also be an opportunity to learn some traditional waulking songs and listen to the stories associated with them.

Also appearing in the Countryside Area will be Trevor Leat, one of the UK’s foremost creators of willow sculptures. Visitors can see this leading craftsman at work as he creates life-sized animals and try weaving willow for themselves.