Alain Wright with the Queens Cup.
Alain Wright with the Queens Cup.

Royal Highland Show: 300 trophies hand polished in preparation for event

More than 300 trophies will be competed for and awarded at this weekend’s Royal Highland Show.

In preparation, Alain Wright, House and Heritage Officer for RHASS (the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland), the organisers of the Royal Highland Show, has been preparing the 327 prestigious trophies.

From a 15-carat yellow gold masterpiece, to the tallest award reaching over one meter, each trophy in the collection tells a story of heritage, and achievement.

Alain’s dedication to preserving this legacy requires meticulous maintenance. Most trophies take on average one hour to polish which if done conservatively, would take Alain 40 days of non-stop cleaning and polishing for eight hours a day.

The largest trophies among the collection, the McMurchie Memorial Trophy and the Knockbrex Perpetual Silver Challenge Cup, each weigh around 16.5 pounds and can take up to 17 hours for a thorough polish.

The trophy’s hold immense value and prestige, honouring the hard work of their recipients.

Alain Wright prepares the hundreds of trophies for the event.

The collection’s oldest trophy, crafted in 1863, became part of RHASS in 2022, while the oldest trophy actively competed for dates back to 1903.

‘It’s an honour and privilege to work with these trophies, not just for their intrinsic value, but for the incredible workmanship and fascinating stories behind them which I find joy in uncovering,’ Alain said.

‘The Queen’s Cup for example stands out as a sterling silver masterpiece, featuring the Royal Arms and a detailed inscription.

‘Presented by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1960 to commemorate her presidency of the Royal Highland Show, the circulating trophy alternates around the Sections of Livestock Competitions and will this year be awarded in the Dairy Cattle section.

‘The McDiarmid Cup, another notable piece, is celebrated for its exquisite Scottish-themed design and silversmith craftsmanship, standing 53cm tall and is richly decorated.

‘It’ll be a joy to see this year’s winning competitors lift the trophies as part of their celebrations.’

The Royal Highland Show will take place at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, Edinburgh, 20-23 June.


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