WE continue our look at the future of the show circuit - the young handlers!

With the 2021 show season once again falling foul of Covid, and most summer shows once again not taking place, we’ve asked the individual show societies to nominate a young handler or two, for us to speak to, and get their outlook on shows, and the wider industry. After all, they are the future.

Running in a similar order to the show calendar, we’re looking forward to hearing what the next generation have to say...

Tilly Munro (14)


Tilly has been on the end of a halter since she was a wee girl

Tilly has been on the end of a halter since she was a wee girl


Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

My name is Tilly Munro and I turned 14 in April. I live outside a small village called Ardgay with my dad Mark, my mam Debby, my big brother Duncan who just turned 17 and my little dog Oreo. We farm Invercharron which is a livestock farm with 120 breeding cows and nearly 1000 sheep. We also have some pygmy goats and a couple of donkeys, but they are more like pets.


Concentration in the show ring is key

Concentration in the show ring is key


Have you always enjoyed showing livestock?

I have been going to shows with my family since I was four months old. My mam and dad have been showing cattle all my life and I have always helped out as much as I could including walking behind calves in the ring to keep them going.

When I was eight I showed my own lamb, Princess, who was a Texel ewe lamb. I won the overall young handler at Sutherland show with her and was so happy I cried! I have always had to help out at shows setting up the pens, bedding, getting water, keeping the animals clean and dressing the calves and as I have gotten older I have done more work on the calves as I have learnt how to be safe when working with them.


Nothing better than winning a red ticket

Nothing better than winning a red ticket


What breeds are you involved with?

I have my own flock of 20 Kerryhill ewes that I have built up using birthday and Christmas money. I like them because they are different to all the other breeds we have on the farm but they are very high strung sheep so are not as easy to work with!

Texel would have to be another one of my favourite breeds of sheep especially because I have a big pet ewe called Betty who leaves the flock to come over for cuddles. I like the Texels because they have a nice shape to them, nice skins and I love their cute fat heads.

When I was very little I loved the Charolais bulls I saw at the shows because they were big, fluffy, white and smelt like talcum powder and I used to cut out pictures of them from the Scottish Farmer for my bedroom walls but as I’ve gotten older my heart always comes back to the commercial cattle that I show with my family. They are usually a cross of British Blue and Limousin and I love working with them and it feels really nice knowing you are getting them tame enough to halter.


Tilly at home on the farm

Tilly at home on the farm


Why do you pick these breeds over others?

The things I like about our commercial calves is that they have lots shape from the British Blue side but good growth and good plates from the Limousin side. They make a really nice show animal but also sell well as store cattle.


Tilly helps out all year round

Tilly helps out all year round


What was the first show that you went to?

The first show I went to was the Black Isle show when I was four months old and It is one of my favourites to go to because it has lots of stuff to see and do. It also has lots of other competitors so it feels like a really big win if we do well there.

What do you enjoy most about showing?

My favourite bit about showing is the competition. I am extremely competitive! I really enjoy dressing the calves and preparing everything needed for the shows we attend.


The whole family are involved on the farm

The whole family are involved on the farm


What has been your showing highlight so far?

I had only started walking calves in the show ring a year or two before Covid stopped everything. I got a first in the young handler section at Nairn show and I was leading the calf when we won best cow and calf at the Black Isle show.

I also walked a calf in the main parades at the Black Isle and Granton Shows unfortunately at the time I was too young to enter the young handler sections at most of the shows due to the rules so I am looking forward to next year when I am able to compete.

Have you had any disappointments in the show ring?

Luckily so far no disappointments!

Who do you admire on the show circuit?

I look up to my dad most of all, not just because he has been successful but I like the way he works with the animals to get them tame. Everything is done calm and quiet so they learn to trust us. But he is rubbish at doing the show calves tails so I have figured that out on my own and he leaves that job to me at the shows!

Do you help on the farm at home?

Me and my whole family work together to get all the farm work done every day. Duncan and me have always helped out since we were wee as it is just the four of us working.

Do you have any other hobbies?

I really enjoy playing rugby and I love to sing and play the guitar.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to go to SRUC to study agriculture after I leave school and then come home to work on the family farm.

What top tips would you give to someone wanting to try showing?

I am lucky because my family show cattle but there are lots of farmers who would let you help out and learn but you can't expect to just start walking cattle. Most of the work happens in the weeks before the shows so ask if you can help then. Also on show day most of the stuff you do as a beginner is getting buckets of water, setting up the pens and most importantly keep the calves bums clean.