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livestock shows

Ready, Set, Show! – the sheep and cattle final is here!

Balfour Baillie’s Limousin cross heifer has seen off competition from other past shows champions to make it to our grand final.

The final round of our online cattle and sheep competitions are here and we have just two animals in each section left.

Today was the planned date for this year’s County Show and this should have been the pinnacle of Orkney’s shows week. However it was not possible to hold the agricultural shows this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

As a bit of fun, we decided to match-up past shows champions in knock out competitions. We have run the rounds through the week and it has all built up to today.

The decisions from our cattle judge, William Gill from Rosskeen, Invergordon, have seen two past County Show inter-breed cattle champions from 2019 and 2016 make it this far. Lets have one last look at them before this afternoon’s final announcement.

The 2019 inter-breed cattle champion was a 15-month-old Limousin cross heifer, shown by Balfour Baillie from Sebay View, Tankerness. The unnamed heifer’s sire was Craigatoke Jamieson and she was out of a British Blue x Limousin, homebred cow.

In her semi-final round she beat the 2012 County Show champion a two-year-old Charolais heifer-in-calf, named Baillieston Eugenie, shown by W.R. Baillie & Co, of Biggings, Toab.

Our judge said of Balfour’s heifer: “She looks to have excellent conformation, length, a good top line and back end.”

The impressive Shorthorn bull, that won at the 2016 County Show takes on Balfour’s heifer in today’s final (Pic: Craig Taylor)

The heifer has some considerable competition in out final as she goes up against the 2016 County Show Champion – the Shorthorn bull, Pentland Emperor, which won at the 2016 County Show.

The five-year-old bull was shown by John Lennie of J.M. Lennie & Co, Nearhouse, Tankerness, and had been bought from Mrs E. C. Robertson, from Instack, Barrock, Caithness. His sire was Chapelton Wildfire and he was out of a cow named Pentland Laura.

In his semi-final he beat the 2017 County Show inter-breed cattle champion – an Aberdeen Angus cow named Skaill Estella P117 shown by Messrs Davidson, from Skaill, in Sandwick.

In selecting Pentland Emperor to go on to the final, our judge William Gill said of the bull: “He stands four square, has length and depth and just oozes power.”

Our cattle section has been sponsored by Serco NorthLink.


Our first sheep finalist – the overall sheep champion of the 2017 County Show, from J. & J. Smith, Upper Cornquoy, Holm.
(Tom O’Brien / The Orcadian)

For our sheep final our judge Kenneth Sutherland, from Caithness, has had two excellent past County Show champions – one from Orkney’s East Mainland and one from the West – catch his eye.

Our first finalist was the 2017 County Show’s supreme sheep entry. This was a Cheviot ewe, shown by J. & J. Smith, from Upper Cornquoy, Holm.

The three-crop ewe was out of a home-bred ewe and sired by Durran Norseman.

In her semi-final round the ewe triumphed over the 2013 County Show champion – a Cheviot gimmer, shown by James and Elsie Wishart, from Newbigging, Harray.

Selecting Upper Cornquoy’s ewe, our judge said she was “Such a good example of the breed.”

Her competition in this final round is the 2016 County Show’s supreme sheep champion – a Charollais gimmer shown by A. & V. Copland, Overhouse, Harray.

Supreme Champion in the 2016 County Show’s sheep section was this Charollais Gimmer by A. & V. Copland, Overhouse. Harray. (Tom O’Brien / The Orcadian)

The gimmer, “did the double” for its owners in 2016, being named champion at the Dounby Show a couple of days before its County Show victory.

Bought in Wales in October 2015 as a ewe lamb, the sheep was sired by Aberkinsey Officer and out of the dam Aberkinsey 464 by Glyn Coch Mr T.

In her semi-final round, the Charollais was selected by the judge over the 2019 County Show champion sheep – a Texel gimmer, shown by Robbie Scott, from Dawn Cottage, Holm, with judge, Mr Sutherland calling her “A tremendous sheep!”

Our sheep section has been sponsored by Birsay Farmers Ltd.

  • The winners will be announced by a special guest on our website and Facebook and Twitter pages at around 5.30pm today.

This week should have been Orkney’s agricultural shows week, kicking off with the Sanday Show on Friday, July 31. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic the six shows and other associated events had to be cancelled. To mark the week, we are pitting past sheep and cattle champions of The County Show against each other, under the eyes of judges, in a knock-out competition. All the animals are judged based on pictures and information from the day they won. As of tomorrow we’ll be doing the same with the horse champions. Those who owned and exhibited them on the day are treated as the owners now for the purposes of the competition, although some of the animals went on to be sold following their win. For more information on the competition and animals click here.