Beith Show - Sat 28 April 2012
Beith is one of the earliest farmers’ shows in the year and it can still be cold. We were all prepared with wellies on for this year’s show but luckily the weather stayed bright and it turned out a very fine and pleasant day. I am quite a veteran of the show myself, having a keen interest in all things rural and this year brought along all my young family of three, this being the youngest lad, Angus’ first show to remember. He’s already tractor daft and he was in his element checking out a real variety of them in the show-ring. Over the last few years, the vintage tractors have become a great new addition to the show. There was also a restored steam traction engine, from Fullwoodhead, which would have been used to power a threshing mill back in the days before combine harvesters. Great piece of kit for all the local Fred Dibnah industrial history fans to marvel over.
We then took a round of the livestock; my eldest daughter, Ava, explaining to the wee ones why the sheep had spray-painted pink or blue identifying spots on their fleeces, and it was not just because they had been messy in the nursery like on Timmy Time!
Of the cattle breeds, the magnificent Highlands were the most apparent, this year complete with two adorable ‘Teddy Bear’ calves to ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ over. Less commonly, there was also one wee Belted Galloway bull, another breed which is very distinctively coloured – solid black with a white ‘belt’ in the middle. I remember on holiday in Dumfriesshire, the heartland of the Belted Galloway breed, seeing a road sign warning of cattle present on which someone had cleverly stuck a piece of white tape on the cow’s middle in proud recognition of their local breed. Our more familiar black and white milk breed – the Friesian, was also present, together with a mobile milking machine to relieve their swelling udders.
The kids were here to have a good time as well as learn about the farm stuff, so we ran along next to the amusements section and they had a great time burning off energy on the various bouncy castles and merry-go-rounds. After a bite to eat and a wee sit down, we were back at the main arena to watch the tractor show, and following that, the traditional Tug O’ War. Then something quite new was announced for the youngsters – a Straw Scramble. Show Field Convenor, Ian Gillan set up a big sheet of polythene and then covered it in straw. The kids then looked away while he threw in a whole box of small change and then they were off! Like a mad pack of demented farmyard rats, they scurried around frantically, tossing hay in the air in all directions (and all over each other), trying to find the hidden coins. It was mayhem and chaos and they all had a brilliant laugh. Ava got enough to buy some candy floss. None of them had tried it before so the novelty value was high.
Time had passed quickly and it was now time to go. We stopped off lastly to see the various breeds of poultry in the shed. Beith is a great wee show as many others do not have the facilities on site to host the poultry. It is a great place to check out all the different kinds, especially if you are thinking about keeping hens yourself. All in all, we had a great day out.