In direct employment terms farming is no longer the major employer it
once was in Scotland but interest in agriculture and the countryside
remains high and some 150,000 visitors are expected this weekend at the
four-day Royal Highland Show 2004 (Thursday 24 June - Sunday 27 June).
Organised by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society (instituted in
1784) the annual show has been held on a permanent site at Ingliston
near Edinburgh Airport since 1960. Prior to that the show was held in
different venues throughout Scotland, and as you would have guessed
there was a fell argie-bargie over the decision to have a permanent
site. Farming columns in newspaper such as the Dundee Courier and
Aberdeen's Press & Journal led the charge against the Edinburgh move.
More than forty years on, expansion at Edinburgh Airport threatens the
Highland Show site and we can expect a fierce fight for the retention of
the Ingliston Show site. However that lies in the future and hopefully
good weather will ensure that the huge daily crowds enjoy the very best
in Scottish agriculture.
A slightly smaller but just as enthusiastic crowds will enjoy two events
recalling the Battle of Bannockburn on Saturday in Ceres and Stirling.
Since 1314 the Fife Burgh of Ceres has held annual games to celebrate
the return of the men from Ceres who helped ensure the victory of Robert
I at Bannockburn and Scottish Freedom.
'For this is June's gala day,
When men rin wud and youngsters play;
The day that marks the glad return
Of Ceres men frae Bannockburn,'
The annual Ceres Highland Games on the Bow Butts offer a cherful mix of
piping, dancing, wrestling, cycling, running and heavy events but best
of all there is free entry for all spectators. Visit
Meanwhile in Stirling SI stalwarts Denholm Christie and Peter D Wright
will be in the Colour Party leading the annual march of the Scottish
National Party to the field of Bannockburn. The Rally will be slightly
later this year and starts from the Golden Lion car park at 3.45pm.
Oliver Brown Award winners, premier Scottish folk duo Gaberlunzie will
provide the entertainment with Cairdies Brig at the Bannockburn Day
Ceilidh in the Tartan Arms, 43 Main Street, Bannockburn, following the
SNP March and Rally. Tickets £6 available from another SI stalwart
Alistair Walker (Tel 01786 814523).
But we return to Edinburgh for the inspiration for this week's recipe
for Pentland Soup from Elizabeth Craig's 'The Scottish Cookery Book'.
The Pentland Hills have long been held dear by the citizens of our
capital, such as Robert Louis Stevenson, and form the perfect back-drop
to Scotland's first city.
Ingredients : 2 oz butter; 2 dessertspoons flour; 2 pints hot milk; 1
peeled clove of garlic; 2 separated eggs; salt and pepper to taste; 3
tablespoons grated nippy cheese; 1 dessertspoon chopped parsley; fried
Melt butter. Stir in flour. When frothy, gradually stir in milk. Add
garlic. bring slowly to boil. Remove from stove. Leave until cold.
Remove garlic. Stir a tablespoon or two of the milk into the yolks, then
stir yolks into milk in pan. Return pan to stove.Stir till piping hot.
Season with salt and pepper. Add cheese. Stir only until melted, then
add stiffly beaten egg whites and parsley. Serve at once in heated soup
cups with fried croutons. Serves 4 or 5.