Sheep TV: shearing competition to be streamed globally as Royal Highland Show goes online-only

A sheep-shearing competiton is to be streamed online as part of plans to save the Royal Highland Show’s favourite crowd pleasers from the Covid lockdown devastation.

Close shave: Shearing competition will be streamed online
Close shave: Shearing competition will be streamed online

Organisers have agreed to host a reduced behind-closed-doors showcase online after reluctantly cancelling the physical event – one of the biggest agricultural shows in the UK – due to have taken place at its traditional showground at Ingliston on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

Taking place week commencing June 14, the online showcase will see the best in livestock judging, equestrian, food & drink and rural skills and will be livestreamed from the showground in Edinburgh to a global audience.

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The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) confirmed Scottish Government funding of up to £750,000 will be provided to support the event, protecting the long-term sustainability of the Royal Highland Show and recognising its key role as a vehicle for education and cultural promotion of the Scottish rural and agricultural industries.

Speaking about the event, RHASS Chairman, Bill Gray said: “This event will see Scotland’s agricultural industry taking centre stage as the country re-emerges from this dark time. It will be a tremendous Showcase of everything that RHASS champions, from equestrian to technical innovation, Scotland's finest produce to sheep-shearing, forestry to farriery and of course the finest livestock. It is our opportunity to bring to life our industry’s work, to support our sector's mental wellbeing and create greater understanding between producer and consumer to help build a sustainable industry."

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “The Royal Highland Show is an important annual event in the farming and rural calendar. While it’s a shame that we cannot meet in the usual way, I am looking forward to being able to recognise the hard work of the entrants and celebrate their achievements at the Showcase, albeit via livestream. It’s key that we all continue to follow the rules in order to fight this virus. I’m hopeful that we’ll continue to see progress and that next year we will be able to mark the 180th Royal Highland Show and bicentennial anniversary of the first show, together in person.”

John Yates, Chief Executive of The British Texel Sheep Society, added: “The Texel Sheep Society wishes RHASS every success with this Showcase. With ever changing legislation surrounding social distancing and other related Covid-19 restrictions, getting this event off the ground has clearly taken a considerable amount of time and planning. The Texel Society fully supports the event and wishes all those connected with it, and competing at it, the best of luck in making this the unique celebration of Scottish agriculture it deserves to be.”

Details of the event will be released over the coming days.

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