Another Highland Show is over – was it the wettest on record? Certainly the mud splattered condition of my clothes and car would suggest so. But the atmosphere was all warmth – and the range of conversations I had indicated an upbeat mood in the farming, crofting and timber industries. The food hall was also doing great business, and it’s remarkable how the range and quality of goods on offer – from our entrepreneurial producers and processors, has grown in the past few years.
I attended launches, receptions and conducted some useful bilateral discussions with a range of politicians, civil servants, Quango chiefs, farmers and their elected representatives. Despite the weather the mood was positive – agriculture feels to be in a good place.
So why is RSPB Scotland there in force throughout the show? Well the first two days are great for networking, and to say hello to those farmers and crofters with whom we work. They may participate in the Volunteer Farmers Alliance, or the Wader Farming Initiative, or are neighbours to one of our reserves. We have constructive discussions, and friendly argument and banter with others who see our stand and pop in. I was also pleased to meet Rob Gibson MSP, Ruth Davidson MSP and John Scott MSP and of course Scottish Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead MSP.
On the Saturday and Sunday we changed our focus to meet our members, and the general public. This year we highlighted the RSPB’s work to save tropical forests and ‘built’ a rainforest on our stand. With the RIO + 20 world summit reaching rather a tepid conclusion it looks like action by the RSPB and our partners in Birdlife International will be essential if tropical forests and the wildlife that depends on them are to be protected. You can read about our projects in Indonesia and West Africa here.
Lastly we were pleased to recruit 70 new supporters to our cause – of saving nature across Scotland, the UK and in partnership across the world.