Back in the saddle — another successful day at Balcormo Races
With the highest number of runners facing the starter since 2014 — 35 in all — fantastic weather, and hospitality that’s hard to beat, the annual Fife point-to-point was set to be a great day.
As I reported last year, I’ve been the event’s clerk of the course for some years, with my wife Fiona acting as point-to-point secretary.
It’s a great way for me to give something back to a sport I’ve been involved with for many years.
I rode as an amateur, but held a full category A certificate, which allowed me to ride against professionals, and I enjoyed a fair amount of success competing on horses my mother bred and trained.
These days as clerk, I have to make sure the course is properly set up, ensuring the sport’s as safe as possible for both horses and riders.
And that effort links in with Ledingham Chalmers’ sponsorship of the medics and vets, all of whom are appropriately trained and qualified (ATQ).
This presence includes two prominent equine vets; two emergency medicine doctors; one paediatric doctor; seven first aiders; and three fully-equipped ambulances, each with two paramedics on board.
Quite simply without the firm’s support, and that of our other generous sponsors, the meeting could not be run.
And from Ledingham Chalmers’ perspective, with so many of our clients operating in the rural sector, it’s crucial we’re involved in events of this kind.
Linda Tinson, our director of rural business, represented the firm on the day, while I was busy with clerk duties.
So what is a point-to-point?
A point-to-point is a form of amateur horse racing over fences, and Fife is proud to hold the most northerly meeting in the UK.
It's a great day out in the countryside where people come together to enjoy the sport and to socialise.
This year, the going was good — perfect jumping ground — and the day consisted of six steeplechase races, and three pony races.
You can read a full report here.
And beyond the races themselves, there was plenty more for the visitors to see and do with food stalls, a fun fair, a country fair, beer tent and trade stands.
The artisan area was even bigger this year, and there was an excellent bar serving draught ale from the St Andrews Brewing Company.
Plus, regular outlets such as Big Winny's Munch Box and Puddledub Hog Roast were joined by Maclaurin's Bar with gourmet coffee, as well the popular coffee van.
Visitors also had the chance to try some Aqua Vitae from the newly-opened Lindores Abbey Distillery.
Just the beginning
This event marks the start of a busy season for the rural team with other events and shows on the horizon including —
- Fife Show — 19 May
- Royal Highland Show, Ingliston — 21-24 June
- Scottish Game Fair, Scone — 29 June-1 July
- The Black Isle Show — 1-2 August
- Highland Field Sports Fair, Moy — 3-4 August
- Perth Agricultural Show — 3-4 August
So once again, all that remains is for me to thank the volunteers, sponsors, traders and participants for yet another special Balcormo Races.
See you next year!