Carloway celebrates show centenary

The crowds at an early show.
The crowds at an early show.

Carloway Agricultural Show is this year celebrating its centenary on Wednesday, August 3rd.

The first “Cattle Show” was held in Carloway was on Friday 25th August 1911 and was opened by Lord Pentland who served as the Secretary for Scotland from 1905 to 1912 and whose name is recalled in the “Pentland” Road, opened in 1912.

The show was then held annually until 1914. The inter-war years saw a few shows, and the annual festival didn’t get properly into its stride until 1954 after which a show has been held every year.

The event has become an important day in the calendar for residents and visitors to the west side of Lewis.

The original Show area was Shawbost to Linshader, but most sections are now open to the whole of Lewis and Harris.

Categories in the first show were: Horses, Cattle, Polled Cattle, Cross Cattle, Sheep, Eggs and Home Industries. There are now over 200 different sections, Heavy Events, Sports, Piping, Dog Show, Best Garden and much else.

To mark the Centenary, more prominence is being given to the piping competitions, with new categories and higher prizes.

The categories include chanter playing for the under 12s, March, Strathspey & Reel and Hornpipe and Jig for juniors and seniors and Ceòl Mòr (Ground) for the seniors.

A new cup in memory of the late Finlay MacNeill, first presented in 2010, will be presented to the piper gaining the highest points in the senior competitions.

The list of prizewinners from the first show indicates that there were a lot of horses competing, and to mark this anniversary year a new “Centenary Cup” donated by Gearrannan Blackhouses will be presented for the highest points in the horse or pony section. In subsequent years, the section for which the new cup is awarded will be decided by the committee on a year to year basis.

The Centenary Show is being opened by Mr John MacLean who was born and brought up in Carloway, and who retired last year as Head Teacher of Back School. He will also be well known to many through the Radio nan Gaidheal programme, Facal Oirbh.