One man who knows more about Wigtown Show that perhaps anyone else is Hugh Paterson, of Barnpark, Kirkinner as he has attended every show “since the war”. That’s the Second World War by the way, not the first!
Hugh called into the Galloway Gazette offices this week to take a trip down memory lane about the show and how it has developed over the years.
Hugh said: “I have shown light horses for years now but I have also shown Clydesdale horses at one point I even showed Ayrshire cattle. Wigtown Show has always been a real meeting place for people who come back to the area and go to the show to catch up with everyone.
“It’s always been a great show and the quality of livestock is always improving but of course I have witnessed many changes down the years. In the old days there were a lot of small holdings in the area that showed their livestock and there was always a variety of classes for them to enter. But the farms are all so much bigger now and there is not the numbers of staff on the farms so it’s just the diehards that do the majority of the showing now.
“I remember the day I won a class for Ayrshire heifers that had 17 entries! That was in the old showfield in Wigtown and it was a great sight to see the old grandstand full of folks watching the parade. The old showfield will always be special to my generation, but some of the young ones showing now don’t remember the show being there. But they are the future of the show so you have to move forward. I have fond memories of the old showfield but fresher memories of the new field.
“In my youth I used to show my ponies and then take part in the gymkhana having hacked them all the way to Wigtown in the morning and hack them back home again at night! I also used to run the mile at the show. JD Owen the butcher, he was always the handicapper for the mile. In those days it was all hand milking and ploughing with horses. I could hand milk two cows when I was eight!
“There have been some great stockmen showing over the years, and great characters too that come to memory”. Hugh then lists the most prolific stockmen down the years:
Galloways - Wullie Allan, Glenturk and Wullie Lindsay, Carsegowan.
Belted Galloways - Miss Flora Stuart, Old Place of Mochrum.
Ayrshires - Ivie and Jock McIlwraith, Eggerness and Stannock; John Wallace, Kildrochat; the Stevensons, Drumflower; James McIntyre, Logan Mains; Gillie Smith, Borrowmoss and over many, many years Hugh and Janet McWilliam, Low Barnultoch.
Clydesdales - John Smith, Sheddock; John McIlwraith, Eggerness; Henry Hall, Glasserton Mains; Bobby and Sidney Cummings, Drury Lane; the Douglas family, Barlauchlan and for as long as Hugh can remember, Hugh Ramsay, Millisle.
Light horses -Sam Muir, Old Hall.
Blackfaces - the McClymonts, Cuil and the Campbells, Carswalloch.
Bluefaced Leicesters - Bertie Forsyth, Chapel Heron and the McCreaths, Arbrack.
Texels- Robert Forsyth, Baltier and Cults.
Suffolks - Drew Smith, Borrowmoss.
Hugh continued: “I still gives me a thrill to show and this year I have four entries in the light horse section and, I can tell you, the day after the show I could tell you what I have lined up for next year’s show!
“Wigtown Show will always be the highlight of the year for me and, when I think about it, all those years ago when I first took part I never though I would still be showing 60 years later and I’d still rather be last with the best one than first with the worst one.”