In Caithness, July is the month for agricultural shows and Highland Games. The annual Caithness County show was held in Wick this year at the riverside in brilliant sunshine on firm dry ground.
At the judging, North Country Cheviot sheep as well as black cattle seemed to be the best represented. Entries in all cattle classes were down on previous years, a result of the restrictions imposed when farmers move cattle these days.
The highland dancing proved to be a popular event, the ever keen dancers appreciated by the spectators and their competitive mums and the Caithness Junior pipe band played throughout the afternoon.
The WRI tent showed off the county ladies' skills in baking and all manner of crafts
The flower tent had the wow factor with gorgeous displays of the hard work of local gardeners and some amazing prize winning flower arrangements.
The show is now a major commercial event with all the big agricultural machinery suppliers represented. Tractors seem to get bigger (and more expensive) every year thanks no doubt to the largesse of the EU Common Agricultural Policy.
Finally, this is the haul of shells we collected from Caithness beaches over our stay in the north. I'm looking for ideas for ornaments, jewellery etc. All contributions welcome.
Novels by Alan Calder
The Glorious Twelfth, set in Caithness.
The Stuart Agenda published by Willowmoon