The Field's guide to what to see and do at this year's Scottish Game Fair.
The Scottish Game Fair returns to the magnificent grounds of Scone Palace, near Perth, from 24 to 26 September. Now at its 32nd edition, it promises to be a spectacular affair, with a packed programme ranging from gundog competitions to falconry demonstrations and even foraging expeditions. With more than 400 exhibitors, it might be hard to pick what to see and do, so here’s a handy guide to some of this year’s highlights.
Head to the gundog area for spaniel, golden retriever and open tests, a junior handler challenge and the Scurry, in which handlers compete any dog breed. But the star event is undoubtedly the Four Nations International Gundog Competition, which sees teams from Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales battling it out on Saturday, competing their spaniels in the morning and their retrievers in the afternoon.
There is a wide range of competitions to choose from, with daily prizes. Don’t miss the Ladies day (on Saturday 25 September) for a chance to win a day’s shooting for two at Gleneagles.
To make life easier, you can store your shotgun on site at the Fair.
The Tay is the perfect backdrop for Fisherman’s Row, where you can refine your casting techniques at the Casting Clinic with Game Angling fly-casting instructors, watch demonstrations with Glenda Powell, Scott Mackenzie and Andrew Toft or enter fly-casting competitions with classes for amateur ladies, gents and youths, plus the Ballathie House Hotel Scottish Open Spey Casting Championship, in which amateur and professionals compete for their chance to win a day’s salmon fishing and a stay at Ballathie House Hotel.
FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD
The Food Theatre is the place to go for a fresh take on game – Praveen Kumar will make a game bhuna curry – but also to join exciting foraging expeditions with Amy Rankine. She will lead walks through the grounds of Scone Palace on Friday and Sunday, which will culminate in delicious dishes that she will prepare at the Theatre. Advance booking (online) is required to take part in the walks, but the cooking sessions are open to all.
MAIN RING DEMONSTRATIONS
There’s plenty going on in the Main Ring, from falconry displays to pipe bands, but the Scottish Game Fair’s star attraction must be the demonstration of the working hill ponies from the Balmoral Estate, which takes place on Sunday.
From the Bio Bus mobile lab where they can become disease detectives to sheep spraying demonstrations, ceramic workshops and bushcraft skills with Bear Grylls consultant Lolly Clark, there’s plenty to keep young ones enthralled.
No Game Fair experience would be complete without a spot of shopping and the Scottish Game Fair doesn’t disappoint. You can stock up on country clothing, accessories, fudge, gin, smoked salmon, cheese – and maybe grab some early Christmas presents. There’s even a Shop and Drop service that delivers heavy purchases to your car.
For more information, or to book a ticket (£18 for adults) or VIP package for the Scottish Game Fair (from £87 including breakfast created by chef Tim Maddams), visit scottishfair.com