IT WAS almost inevitable that this year's Royal Highland Show would fall victim once again to Covid-19 restrictions, but the show's organisers have quickly and bravely decided to hold a 'behind closed doors' event.

Chronologically, the timing of the planned event could not have been worse, especially since the UK Government's tentative date for restrictions being removed was stated as June 21, exactly the day after what would have been a four-day RHS run.

That didn't bode well, but then neither did the ultra cautious approach taken by the Scottish Government thus far and so organisers had been left with little option but to shelve plans for a full-on open doors event.

Just how this will take shape will entail a frantic scramble behind the scenes to put on a show befitting the status of the Highland, but with the safety in terms of health of those in attendance as a first priority.

It won't be the same without a critical audience and that all important buzz, but there is no doubt that the vast majority of exhibitors – livestock, showjumping, show ponies/horses, handcrafts and even poultry – will enthusiastically support this venture. It goes without saying that it will be a badly needed salve to the lack of competitive showmanship that we will have endured for close to 18 months by the time the middle of June comes around.

Obvious questions remain though. Will it be stock in and out in one day; will they have to be housed outdoors (or at least in a marquee with no sides); will livestock numbers be restricted; and will their attendants be strictly controlled?

This event will be live-streamed to what's expected to be an equally enthusiastic home and even world-wide audience – with RHASS members being promised a 'front seat'. One sticking point might be that while it's one thing tuning into a streamed event during the winter months, it might be a different thing in a nice summer's day with a hayfield beckoning?

While it has been a difficult year for them, RHASS must have been heartened also by the support shown by it members and those who had pre-booked tickets. There would appear to be a solid foundation for moving forward, given that it had gathered in almost £300,000 for its 'Save our Show' appeal, plus it had pre-sold 10,000 tickets – which could have been greater had more been released – and the positive news is that RHASS has pledged to pay back those who had put their money down for tickets.

The next year, financially, is going to be a bit of a tightrope for the society, it admitted this week, but there is nothing to suggest that, with tight jurisprudence, there will not be a full return to glory for the 2022.

In the meantime, the really good news is that the livestock showing fraternity can dust down their white coats, shine up their leather halters and start feeding and leading their potential champions. For them, the show will go on ...