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The Royal Highland Show

The Royal Highland Show

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Back in 2012, when we started to plan the first EYF, we decided that we wanted to create a distinctly urban festival for knitters. Even though our venue has a large green field in front of it and we often receive suggestions for its use, we have so far resisted inviting livestock to EYF!

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We do need a sheep-fix every now and again though so we abandoned our desks and went along to the opening day of the annual Royal Highland Show.

Offering a mix of agriculture, food and craft with a distinct Scottish flair, the show focusses heavily on livestock like sheep, cattle and horses.

The event is very interesting as a whole, but it’s worth going for the sheep alone - we spent a very happy few hours observing the ongoings in the judging rings and preparation areas as well as taking a close look at the sheep pens.
This huge event comes to Edinburgh every year in June and runs over 4 days. If you're planning to go, take public transport as the traffic jams are legendary!


 Jacob sheep being prepared for the judging ring

Jacob sheep being prepared for the judging ring

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 Beauty Parlour

Beauty Parlour


 The judge pointing at the ram he wants to inspect closer

The judge pointing at the ram he wants to inspect closer

 Final inspection before prize-giving

Final inspection before prize-giving


 Border Leicester judging

Border Leicester judging

 Judging the fleeces

Judging the fleeces

 Shepherds crook carving competition entries

Shepherds crook carving competition entries


A good variety of breeds could be seen, here a small selection:

Scotch Mule

North Country Cheviot

Scottish Blackface

Swaledale

Shetland

Bluefaced Leicester

Texel

Hebredian

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 Valais Blacknose "Elfie"

Valais Blacknose "Elfie"

This is "Elfie" - the friendliest sheep we've ever encountered. Not really a breed we see roaming the hills of Scotland, but great to see nevertheless.
In terms of personality, this lady was closer to a dog than any sheep we've ever met. She was very curious and (we think!) enjoyed being  petted.
Even though the fleece of these sheep is amazingly soft to touch, it's mainly used for carpets and felting.


Love meeting sheep?

 Mica in 2011 at Woolfest in Cumbria

Mica in 2011 at Woolfest in Cumbria

 Breeder showing sheep at Woolfest 

Breeder showing sheep at Woolfest 

We can recommend a visit to Woolfest (taking place this weekend in Cumbria) - it offers the perfect mix of fibre fun and animals.

If you live close enough, why not visit the Scottish Smallholders Festival in Forfar, 28th October 2018? This event shows an amazing variety of farm animals from smallholders around Scotland. We've seen an amazing variety of breeds there apart from the more common ones shown at the RHS including Soay, Herdwick, Gotland, Wensleydale and Icelandic sheep. The 2017 event was a fantastic experience for us and since we've been invited to judge the "Crafted Fleece and Fibre" section this year, we will definitely be there!

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