Exhibitors and spectators were out in force to support the first Royal Northern Spring Show since the start of the pandemic, with the Thainstone-based event not only attracting a terrific show of exhibition cattle, sheep and horses but also pedigree bulls.

The event, which is held in conjunction with Aberdeen and Northern Marts, also pulled in a colossal crowd – just shy of 5000 head. It was, however, the enthusiasm for the show and the farming sector that was most evident throughout, with spectators just delighted to see some ‘normality’ back in their lives.

“It has been a tremendous event and so much better than everyone expected given the restrictions that everyone has had to adhere to since the start of the pandemic,” said James Dick, president of the Royal Northern Agricultural Society.

“The one thing I have heard more than anything today is that everyone is just so pleased to be back at the show which should hopefully point to huge enthusiasm for all the agricultural shows to come.”

Backing up these statements was the fact that while there were no record entries in any of the sections, they were all up on the last show in 2020, with the exhibition and carcase cattle competitions highly sought after.

As always it was the show calves that pulled in the biggest crowds, with pre-sale show judge, David Blair, Littleinch, Balmerino, Newport-on-Tay, also relieved to see some sort of normality return to the industry.

“Everyone is just so pleased to be back out and about, catching up with everyone that they haven’t seen for so long,” he said. “It’s also fantastic to see such a quality show of calves with more forward than I have seen in previous years.

“The champion is an exceptional animal that I would expect will do really well at future events as she’s full of style and correctness,” added Mr Blair.

While it was a great day for everyone, first time exhibitors, Stewart and Lynsey Bett, Newmill Farmhouse, Stirling, undoubtedly enjoyed it most as it was their heifer that landed the supreme heifer and overall championship.

Their 424kg May, 2021-born black calf, christened Sexy Spice, was bred by Welsh pedigree Limousin breeders, Peredur and Llyr Hughes, who also bred the couple’s two previous show calves, Queen Bee and Red Hot Ruby. Bought privately at the Welsh Winter Fair last year, Sexy Spice is by the 15,000gns Pabo Oldspice and was not forward for sale when the the couple have kept her for further showing in the summer.


This British Blue cross heifer from James McConachie and Son sold for £2700

This British Blue cross heifer from James McConachie and Son sold for £2700

George and Doreen McConachie and their daughter, Suzie, who run 80 sucklers at Lethendry, Cromdale, also had a cracking day, securing the runner-up heifer and reserve overall as well as the award for the second best bullock.

They also sold the second top priced calf at £3600 when their second prize heifer, an 11-month-old Limousin cross heifer bred by Raymond Martyn, Wester Bleaton, sold south with Mike and Melanie Alford, Taunton, Somerset. She was bought alongside her dam at a breeding cattle sale here last year and scaled 480kg.

The family’s reserve overall, another black heifer made £2700, selling to Andrew and Reece Simmers, of Backmuir Livestock, Keith. The same home also received £2700 from Backmuir Livestock for the reserve champion heifer.

This was a home-bred, 10-month-old scaling 400kg, sired by a British Blue cross Limousin bull bought privately from the Hunters, of Upper Brydekirk, Annan.

Adding to the celebrations, the McConachies sold a nine-month-old Limousin cross heifer for £2000 to William and David Moir, Home Farm Cairness, Fraserburgh.

Next best at £3000, was a first prize Aberdeen-Angus cross British Blue heifer from father and son duo David and Neil Work, Mains of Dumbreck, Udny, Ellon. Selling to Wilson Peters, Cuilt Farmhouse, Monzie, Crieff, was a home-bred, nine-month-old heifer by Sebay Jacobite, a bull that also bred the Work’s native champion at the Thainstone Christmas Classic for the past two years

Cameron Hunter, West Cairnhill, Culsalmond, Insch, was another in the money, taking £2200 for a 12-month-old Charolais cross heifer bred by Kincraigie Farms. This heifer scaled 448kg and stood first in its class, before selling to the judge Mr Blair.

Balfour Baillie, Sebay View, Tankerness, Orkney, received £2100 for a home-bred 12-month-old Limousin cross heifer, from Craig Malone, Pitcairn, Fife. She is by Mystyle Nowmister.

Keeping it in the family, Balfour’s father, Jim Baillie, Sebay, sold a home-bred, 11-month-old Limousin cross heifer by Gunnerfleet Noble, for £2000 to Backmuir Livestock.

Matching that price, a second prize bullock from Jack Hendry, Craibstone Farm, Deskford, Cullen, was knocked down to Tommy Linklater, Stonlea, Stenness. He was bred by Una Macdonald, Lower Cairnglass, and is a son of Arradfoot Ozzymandius.


Exhibition bullock champion from William Robertson and Son, Fodderletter Farms, Tomintoul. sold for £1300

Exhibition bullock champion from William Robertson and Son, Fodderletter Farms, Tomintoul. sold for £1300

The champion bullock, a yearling by Homebyres Nistleroy, from Michael Robertson and family, Fodderletter Farms, Tomintoul, made £1300 to Backmuir Livestock, Keith.

Reserve bullock was another from the Lethendry team which made £1500 to JWK Paterson, Low Tree Mark Farm, Stoneykirk, Stranraer. He is by Anside Nuckles.


Exhibition Cattle champion was this Limousin cross bullock from the McConachies of Lethendry and it sold for £1500.

Exhibition Cattle champion was this Limousin cross bullock from the McConachies of Lethendry and it sold for £1500.

* A heavy Limousin cross heifer topped an especially strong show of carcase cattle for first time champion winners, James and Belinda Muir, Honeyneuk. The couple who finish 80-100 head of home-bred cattle every year went straight to the top with a home-bred entry by Dyke Gladiator, a bull bought privately from Jim Hunter, Wedderburn, out of an Aberdeen-Angus cross cow.

LEADING awards

Unhaltered – Heifers – 1, J Robertson and Co, Newton of Logierait, £1600; 2, W Robertson and Son, Fodderletter £1200.

Bullocks – 1, B Duffton, Huntly £1350; 2, Casey Construction, Orquill, £1140.

Haltered cattle – Heifers – Calves – 1, D Work and Son, Mains Dumbreck, £3000; 2, J McConachie and Son, Lethendry, £1650; 3, J Robertson and Co, Newton of Logierait, unsold; 4, J Robertson and Co, Newton of Logierait, £1250. Junior – 1 and reserve heifer and reserve overall champion and 2, J McConachie and Son, £2700 and £2000; 3, J Robertson and Co, £1900. Intermediate – 1, heifer champion and supreme overall, Stewart and Lynsey Bett, Newmill Farmhouse, Fallin (not forward for sale); 2, J Robertson and Co, £1700; 3, W Robertson and Son, unsold; 4, B Baillie, Sebay View, Tankerness, unsold. Senior – C Hunter, West Cairnhill, £2200; 2, J McConachie, £3600; 3, JS Baillie and Co, Sebay £2000; 3, J Robertson and Co, unsold. Mature – 1, B Duffton, (not forward for sale); 2, I and G Grant, Bank of Gallery (not forward for sale); 3, Kevin Beaumont, Sunnyside of Drum, £1800; 4, Penny Stewart, Gunhill, £1750

Bullocks – 1 and reserve bullock, J McConachie and Son, Lethendry, £1500; 2, Jack Hendry, Craibstone, £2000; 3, J Robertson and Son, £1350; 4, R Davidson, Corsairtly, £1150. Intermediate – 1 and bullock champion, W Robertson and Son, Fodderletter, £1300; 2, B Duffton £1400; 3, Jack Hendry, unsold; 4, R Davidson £1350.

Carcase cattle

Bullocks – Native-bred – 1, H Brown, Auchmaliddie Mains; 2, W and J Cameron, Burnside; 3, H Brown.

Continental – Light – 1, R and D Farquhar, Tewel; 2 and 3, W and J Cameron. Medium – 1, A Douglas, Crimongate Mains; 2, D and V Buchan, Savoch; 3, W and J Cameron. Heavy – 1, A and E Cumming, Tillydesk; 2, BM Duffton, Huntly; 3, R and D Farquhar.

Heifers – Native – 1, A and E Cumming; 2, H Brown; 3, Ross Bros, Wardhead.

Contintenal – Light – 1, S Smith, Sunnyhill; 2, W and J Cameron; 3, BM Duffton. Medium – 1 and 2, BM Duffton; 3, J and B Muir, Honeyneuk. Heavy – 1, J and B Muir; 2, Ross Bros; 3, A Douglas.