After the disappointment of cancellation last year, the GWCT Scottish Game Fair’s silver anniversary event at Scone Palace could not have had better weather for 2013. Opened by Olympic gold medallist Peter Wilson, the show welcomed 35,000 people through the gates over three days of bright sunshine. Hugo Straker, chairman of the fair, said, “We try very hard to put on a first-class show and this year we have received so many favourable comments that it makes all our hard work worthwhile. We saw many, many happy faces at the Fair and are delighted so many people came out to enjoy the event.”
One of the highlights of the fair this year was a new event, the Fred Taylor working pony competition. Ten ponies turned out to be judged by Peter Fraser, former head stalker at the Inverdale estate, two of which were entered from HM the Queen. The overall winner was Victor of Alltnacailleach (6 years old), from the Garrogie Estate, Inverness-shire, accompanied by ghillie Christina Ellis. Adam Smith, GWCT Scotland director, said: “This was a wonderful spectacle. We have never had 10 ponies in our main ring before, all kitted out for the hill, all with stalkers and ghillies looking superb. This was this a brilliant educational exhibit, with working ponies still very much a part of game management in Scotland today and, with the sun shining brightly, a real tribute to Fred.”
Also attending the anniversary event was Scottish parliament’s minister for environment, Paul Wheelhouse, who attended the GWCT’s reception to celebrate the Year of Natural Scotland. Mr Wheelhouse viewed the Trust’s interactive display, and exhibits dedicated to the GWCT’s Scottish ‘Big 5’, which include black grouse, woodcock, red grouse, mountain hare and grey partridge as indicator species of a healthy and well-managed environment.