A respite from the rain coupled with near record breaking entries in the sheep and horse sections and a bigger than normal line-up of cattle, ensured a good day out for spectators and exhibitors at Grantown Show.

Add to that the usual turn out of superior quality livestock from some of the best sheep and cattle breeders in the north and livestock that has already won several events, and the there was plenty to catch the eye.

For the overall champion of champions judge, deputy lieutenant, Fergus Laing, owner of Glenbeg Estate, it was nevertheless the inter-breed beef champion – a young Aberdeen-Angus bull from Neil and Mark Wattie, that proved the star of the show.

Show stopper here was Tonley Excel, a 17-month-old bull from Aberdeenshire the father and son duo from Mains of Tonley. A son of Nightingale Perry, bred from Tonley Ester, this youngster was shown fresh from winning the junior inter-breed bull title at Turriff Show on Monday.

Inter-breed beef judge, Harold Murray, Turriff, was also most impressed by the Angus, with the commercial champion, again from Blair Duffton and Rebecca Stuart, coming a close second.

“I was looking for animals with smaller carcases to meet the demands of the market place and the top two winners are perfect examples of that,” said Mr Murray, a noted former cattle showman in the North-east.

“It was a difficult job selecting the top winners, but the Aberdeen-Angus is a great bull, full of breed character and one that has a great future ahead of him, while the commercial champion is almost just as good,” added Mr Murray, who now hires out bulls.

Just pipped at the post for the big beef title again was Aberdeenshire’s Blair Duffton and Rebecca Stuart’s well-known show heifer, I’ll be There. This 14-month-old Limousin cross heifer not only boasts six championships from six shows, under her belt, but also several inter-breed and reserve titles. Bred by Stuart Raeburn and sired by Lorenzo, she was bought at the Thainstone Spring Show in February, from the Robertson family, Fodderletter after standing pre-sale champion.

I’ll Be There and her commercial herd mates, Cinnamon and Dancing Queen from the same home, were back in business in the inter-breed groups too, winning the supreme overall again, with the blue and white sash going to Limousins from the Robertson from Fodderletter Farms.

The Robertsons also had a good day, winning the inter-breed confined championship with their reserve champion from the Limousin section, Goldies Nell, a 23-month-old heifer. She was bought at Carlisle in May and is by Goldies Fortress.

Standing next in line to her to lift the runner up sash was the reserve Aberdeen Angus, an in-calf heifer from Ballindalloch Estate, shown by David and Susan Johnstone. Ballindalloch Black Bee is by Ballindalloch Earl.

The busy sheep lines saw the winner from the biggest section take the supreme overall. Inter-breed sheep judge, Jimmy Sinclair, Heriot, found his overall in a Blackface ewe from Stephen Duncan and son Stephen’s 150-ewe Livet south-type flock. Previously unshown, she is by £1300 Midlock and bred from a ewe by a £2800 Elmscleugh.

Coming a close second and reserve overall was the Texel champion from Jemma Green’s 30-ewe Corskie flock from Fochabers. A daughter of the jointly owned stock ram, Holylee Acrobat shown by Martyn Burnett, she is bred from a Milnbank female by Strathbogie Untouchable.

Mr Sinclair also placed the inter-breed groups of three amongst and found his supreme in a trio of home-bred Suffolks from Irene Fowlie’s Essie flock from Strichen. This was made up of the reserve breed champion, Essie Zulo, a two-shear ram and a home-bred ewe and gimmer by the retained ram, Essie Warrior.

Texels from Jemma Green’s Corskie flock, bagged the reserve in the groups.

LEADING awards

Aberdeen-Angus (Judge: Wendy Willox, Huntly). Champion – N and M Wattie, Mains of Tonley, with the 17-month-old bull, Tonley Excel, a Nightingale Perry son out of Tonley Ester. He was reserve male champion and inter-breed junior bull at Turriff and is destined for the bull sales at Stirling in October. Reserve –Ballindalloch Home Farm, Ballindalloch, with Ballindalloch Black Bee, a two-year-old in-calf heifer by Ballindalloch Earl out of Ballindalloch Black Betty. She was shown by David and Susan Johnstone and stood reserve at Black Isle and second at Nairn. Senior bull – A and K Rhind and Son. Junior bull, cow, calf – N and M Wattie. Senior heifer – Ballindalloch Home Farm. Junior heifer – D Walker, Galcantray, Cawdor.

Beef Shorthorn (Judge: I Park, Fort William). Champion – Glenrinnes Farms, Dufftown, Huntly, with Smallburn Katie, an April 2016-born heifer bought at the Smallburn dispersal. Junior champion at the Highland in 2018, she is by Culdrochie Front Rank and was paraded due in September, by stockmen Glen Dean and Jack Shaw. Reserve – Alison Watt, Birkenburn, Keith, with the yearling heifer, Strathisla Felicity Madonna, a first prize winner on the North-east show circuit, by Declan of Craigiebank, out of Holmeere Felicity, a heifer bought at Stirling. Bull, calf – G Stephen, Hatton Farm, Dallas. Cow – Glenrinnes Farms. Senior heifer, junior heifer – Alison Watt.

Highland (Judge: M Auld, Glasgow). Champion – Leys Castle Farm, Inverness, with the three-year-old heifer, Duchess of Black Glen, bred by Grant Hyslop and bought at Oban in 2018. Second to the champion at the Black Isle, she is by Lachlan of Lagg, out of Duchess 1 of Merkland and was brought out by Dale Scott. Reserve – K and V Thomson, Clackriach Cottage, Maud, with the nine-year-old cow, Heather 8 of Tordarroch, a Craig of Tordarroch daughter out of Heather 11 of Innisard, shown with heifer calf at foot. She was bought as a four-year-old at Oban and is a former reserve winner at Turriff and New Deer. Three-year-old heifer, bull – Leys Castle. Two-year-old heifer – Miss M Macarthur, Allanfearn Highlanders, Newhouse Heights of Inchvannie, Strath. Yearling heifer – Tordarroch Estates. Cow, calf, senior bull – K and V Thomson.

Simmental (Judge: D McKenzie, Insch). Champion – M Durno, Auchorachan, Glenlivet, with Auroch Hudson, a rising three-year-old bull bought at Roscommon in March 2018. He is by Klitgardens Emil, out of Auroch Danica and was on his first outing of the year. Reserve – MacPherson Family, Blackford, Croy, with Blackford Jethro, a March 2018-born son of Blackford Galaxy, out of Blackford Bramble. Champion at Nairn. Senior bull, cow – D and R Durno. Junior bull, calf – MacPherson Family. Senior heifer – J McIver, Wester Coltfield, Kinloss. Junior heifer – D and DM Leslie.

Charolais (Judge: D McKenzie). Champion – J Irvine and Son, Inverlochy, Tomintoul, with Inverlochy Nadine, a 27-month-old heifer by the former Highland Show champion, Kilbline Instigator out of Inverlochy Debbie, on her first outing. Reserve – B and G Wright, Lagavaich, Glenlivet, with the seven-year-old cow, Lagavaich Hermine, the reserve female champion at the Highland in 2015 on her first outing of the year. A big winner in previous years, she is by Lochend Apache and bred from Cyglen Shirley, a cow bought at Duncan MacGregor’s Corrie dispersal. Bull, senior heifer, junior heifer – J Irvine and Son. Cow – B and G Wright. Calf – RA Milne and Son, Kennishillock, Lhanbryde, Elgin.

Limousin (Judge: B Thow, Strathpeffer). Champion – R and K Davidson, Corsairtly, Keith, with Corsairtly Oswald, a 17-month-old bull by the privately purchased Ronick Inspector out of Corsairtly Janelle. Reserve inter-breed champion at Echt and Nairn, he was also breed champion at Turriff, Black Isle and New Deer. Reserve – Robertson Family, Fordderletter Farms, Tomintoul, with Goldies Nell, a 23-month-old heifer bought at Carlisle in May, by Goldies Fortress. She was female champion at Nairn, reserve at Dornoch and reserve female at the Black Isle. Bull – R and K Davidson. Cow – Aileen Ritchie, Tamala, Whitecairns, Aberdeen. Senior heifer, calf – Robertson Family. Junior heifer – S Irvine, Braehead, Drummuir, Keith.

British Blonde (Judge: I Park). Champion – Alison Watt, Birkenburn, Keith, with the two-year-old heifer, Strathisla Maxine, by Strathisla Hero out of Strathisla Esther. Champion at most of the North East Shows. Reserve – Alison Watt with Strathisla Joy, a four-year-old cow shown with bull calf foot that was a big winner in 2016. A daughter of Bridge Elmo out of Strathisla Gloria. All classes – Alison Watt.

Any other pedigree beef breed (Judge: M Auld). Champion – Sarah Balfour, Easter Fodderletter, Tomintoul, with the five-year-old in-calf British Blue cow, Newroddige Jemima, which won a lot as two-year-old. Champion at the breed show and sale at Carlisle, when bought, she is by Mountjoy Utopia and out of Tamhorn Foxtail Lily. Champion at Turriff and Nairn. Reserve – M and R Durno and Sons, Auchorachan, Glenlivet, with the April 2017-born Salers bull, Cleughhead Munro, a son of Cuil Godfather, bought alongside his dam, Cleughhead Marie, at Castle Douglas. Champion here last year, he was reserve male at the Highland in June and was on his first outing since. Senior bull – M and R Durno and Sons. Junior bull, calf – G Patterson, Upper Forgie, Aultmore, Keith. Cow – Sarah Balfour. Senior heifer – Molly Stuart, Lettoch Farm, Braes of Glenlivet, Ballindalloch

Commercial cattle (Judge: E Fettes, Buckie). Champion – B Duffton and Rebecca Stuart, Huntly and Insch, with the 14-month-old Limousin cross heifer, I’ll Be There, winning her sixth championship of the year to add to the several other inter-breed and reserve inter-breed wins. Bred by Stuart Raeburn, she was bought at the Thainstone Spring Show where she was bought from Michael Robertson, Fodderletter Farms, after standing pre-sale champion. Reserve – Robertson Family, Fodderletter Farms, with a 14-month-old home-bred Britiswh Blue cross heifer by Midlock Jackpot, out of a home-bred Limousin cross cow. Champion at Nairn, she was also third at Turriff. Stot born after Sept 1, 2017, heifer born after Sept 1, 2017 – B Duffton and R Stuart. Stot calf born after Sept 1, 2018 , calf born between Mar 1, 2018 and Sept 1 2018 – D Munro, Invercharron, Ardgay. Stot calf born after Jan 1, 2019 – Fraser Family. Heifer calf born after Jan 1, 2019 – B Patterson, Cairndaie Croft, Sauchen. Calf born after Sept 2, 2018 – J McIver.

Young handlers – Champion – Rachel Davidson. Reserve – Grant Rhind. Under 12 years – 1, Grant Rhind; 2, Tilly Munro. Over 12years – 1, Rachel Davidson; 2, Jayne Mitchell.

Commercial breeding cow with calf (Judge: E Fettes). Champion – M Munro, Invercharron, Ardgay, with a Limousin cross cow with Autumn-born calf. Reserve – Robertson Family, Fodderletter Farms, with a Limousin cross cow with Spring-born calf. Only two classes.

Clydesdale (Judge: R Lang, Cupar). Champion – Louise Tulloch, Rosebank Court, Nairn, with a three-month-old colt that was first at Nairn and the Black Isle. He is by Doura Aird Ambition and out of Kilbuick Midnight Lexi, a former reserve winner here. Reserve – D and Beverley Walker, Galcantray, Cawdor, with Galcantray Angel, a 10-year-old mare that was placed at the Highland, reserve at Black Isle and supreme at Nairn. She is by Heatherwick Perfection and out of Ord Jubilee Girl. Senior male, yeld mare, young handlers – D and B Walker. Mare with foal, yearling filly – Louise Tulloch.

Blackface (Judge: M Hamilton, Carnwath). Champion – R and S Duncan, Achdregnie, Glenlivet, with a one-crop ewe from their 150-ewe Livet flock. Previously unshown, she is by a £1300 Midlock and out of a ewe by a £2800 Elmscleugh. Reserve – R and S Duncan. with a home-bred shearling ram from their north-type flock. He is by a home-bred son of a Sam Adams-bred tup that sold to Elizabeth Johnstone, that sold for £450 and out of a ewe by an 11,000gns Breslin sire. First outing. Aged ram, shearling ram, ewe, tup lamb pair – R and S Duncan. Tup lamb, ewe lamb pair, shepherd’s – R Flett, Crackaik, Arderseir. Gimmer, ewe lamb – W Stewart, Bomakelloch, Drummuir.

Texel (Judge: D Connon, Huntly). Champion – Jemma Green, Corskie, Fochabers, with a previously unshown home-bred one-crop ewe by Halbeath VIP out of a Milnbank ewe by Strathbogie Untouchable, brought out by Martyn Burnett. Reserve – Jemma Green, Corskie, with a home-bred gimmer by Holylee Acrobat, out of a Deveronvale ewe by Garngour Ultimatum. Aged ram, ewe, gimmer, ewe lamb ¬– Jemma Green. Tup lamb – J Bradley, Tillyminate, Gartly, Huntly.

Any other accredited breed (Judge: W Brown, New Deer). Champion – R Baynes, Blackford, Croy, with a Bluefaced Leicester gimmer that was reserve at Black Isle. She is by the E11 Rossiebank sire and was bought at the Rossiebank dispersal at Carlisle, last year. Reserve – R Baynes, with last year’s inter-breed sheep champion, a three-shear Bluefaced Leicester ram bred by Obie Sharp and bought at Kelso in 2017. He is by a Carryhouse sire and was champion and reserve inter-breed sheep at Nairn, last month. Aged ram, shearling ram, gimmer, ewe lamb, tup lamb – R Baynes. Ewe – Yvonne Spence, Gowan Brae, Skye of Curr, Dulnain Bridge.

Suffolk (Judge: J Wilson, Peterhead) Champion – L Dunn, Corriemount, Muir of Ord, with a Birness-bred one-crop ewe that was bought at the Thainstone Christmas Classic from the Stuart family. She was second at Dornoch and Nairn and placed at the Black Isle. Reserve – Irene Fowlie, Adziel, Strichen, Fraserburgh, with Essie Zulo, a home-bred two-shear ram by Essie Warrior, out of a home-bred ewe by Hans Fokker. He was first at Nairn and made up part of the winning inter-breed group of three at Grantown, along with a ewe and gimmer also by Essie Warrior. Aged ram – Irene Fowlie. Ewe, gimmer, ewe lamb, tup lamb – L Dunn.

Cross sheep (Judge: W Brown). Champion – J Simmons, Ruthven, Tomintoul, with a pair of March-born Scotch Mule ewe lambs by a £1900 Midlock tup bought at Kelso, out of Achnabat Blackface ewes bought at Kingussie as ewe lambs. They were first at Black Isle, second at Turriff and are to be sold at Huntly. Reserve – J Simmons, with a Scotch Mule gimmer by a £1200 Wedderburn ram bought at Kelso, out of an Achnabat ewe. Ewe, ewe lamb – G Breathet, Woodside Croft, Blackpark, Ardersier. Gimmer, pair of Scotch Mule ewe lambs – J Simmons. Pair of lambs by a native sire – A and SJ Forbes. Pair of lambs by a continental sire – Gaich Farms.

Jacob (Judge: C Reid, Dufftown). Champion – A Christie, Birchfield, Glass, Huntly, with a home-bred one-crop ewe that was female champion and reserve overall at the Highland as a ewe lamb. Reserve at Nairn, she is by Dun-Mor Antonio and out of Pentre Candie. Reserve – A Christie, with the three-shear ram, Hope Knockout, a son of Hyndshaw Highland Laddie, that was reserve at Fettercairn and champion at New Deer. All classes – A Christie.

Zwartbles (Judge: Nicola Henderson, Stirling). Champion – Sammy Stewart, The Buttery Brae, Drummuir, Keith, with Janetstown Flare, a gimmer by Aquila Duplicate out of a Wetheral ewe bought at the Balchurn dispersal at Thainstone. She was reserve inter-breed at Keith, last year and since being placed at the Highland in June, was on her first outing. Reserve – L and R Sharp, The Paddock, Gorthleck, Inverness, with Olbre Firecracker, a son of Wallacetown Carbon, that was bought at Carlisle, last year. Champion of champions at Nairn, champion at Sutherland and the Black Isle. Ram, ewe – L and R Sharp. Gimmer, tup lamb – S Stewart. Ewe lamb – Fiona McIntosh.

Young handlers – Junior champion – Hunter Nairn. Senior champion – Amara Nairn.