Home   News   Article

FERGUS EWING: Shows are where it is happening this summer as the Inverness Games, Nairn Show, Grantown Show and Moy Fair were all a huge success this year with Covid in retreat

By Fergus Ewing

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
Fergus Ewing at the Grantown Show last week.
Fergus Ewing at the Grantown Show last week.

The Inverness Games, Nairn Show, Grantown Show and Moy Fair were all a huge success this year, with large attendances of locals and visitors.

With Covid on the retreat, people relish getting out and about once again.

There is a tremendous amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to make these major events work, and much of it is voluntary, so I want to give my sincere thanks to all those involved.

For an MSP, or MP, they are the ideal way to find out what is happening in the real rural world and my friend and colleague, Drew Hendry MP, and I have really enjoyed the chat at these events this year.

And that chat can lead to action.

When Farming Minister in 2016 attending the Royal Highland Show, one unhappy farmer angrily told me: “You have got my money.” (Actually, he added a well-known Anglo-Saxon term!). He certainly got the message across!

I then promised in a Ministerial Statement to Parliament to fix the admin problems which delayed farm payments and, though it took time, fix them we did.

Scottish farmers have been paid months earlier than our friends down south.

At a Grantown show, I was asked what the Scottish Government was doing to get “our money” back.

This was the EU so-called “convergence” funding of £160 million – money which was always intended for Scottish farmers and crofters. It was instead paid out to others.

After a seven-year campaign the money was repaid and paid over to our farmers in full.

Less good news came from the Nairn Games organisers who, for the very first time, are being asked to pay £2000 for a road closure order.

Their traditional march goes along the A96 for about 100 yards and so the police must close the road. That’s £2000 for 100 yards and 15 minutes!

Transport Scotland, based in Glasgow, appears to be imposing this charge; the police have waived theirs.

I have asked Transport Scotland to follow suit but as yet have had no answer.

The Games are a charity and cannot charge entry money because of the layout, so this seems bureaucracy gone mad.

Let’s hope Transport Scotland respond positively – Courier readers including those in Nairn will be first to hear.

PS, my partner, Fiona, won the second prize for her (gin-infused!) Victoria Sponge in the Grantown Show – easily as competitive an event in the bakery world as Formula One!

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More