Eric and Cally bring show trophy home to Angus

An Angus ghillie and his hill pony brought home a trophy from the GWCT Scottish Game Fair dedicated to the memory of another county estate worker.
​Eric Starke and Cally, who won this year’s Fred Taylor Memorial Trophy for Working Hill Ponies.​Eric Starke and Cally, who won this year’s Fred Taylor Memorial Trophy for Working Hill Ponies.
​Eric Starke and Cally, who won this year’s Fred Taylor Memorial Trophy for Working Hill Ponies.

Eric Starke and Cally from the Glen Clova estate claimed first prize in this year’s Fred Taylor Memorial Trophy for Working Hill Ponies.

The 11th annual showing competition, which attracted entrants from across the country, took place in the main ring last Sunday and is held in memory of Fred Taylor, who was the head stalker on Invermark Estate in Glenesk for more than 30 years.

This year saw 18 ponies and their ghillies parading in the main arena before a judging panel assessed them.

The ponies are harnessed with tack for the hill, either for carrying deer or panniers for grouse, and the ghillies are dressed in their estate tweed.

Eric won the trophy back in 2017 when working at Glen Prosen and has been working at Glen Clova since last November.

Grey mare Cally, who is 14 years old, works regularly during the season carrying red deer and grouse.

Eric says she is a mild, clever mare and never puts a hoof wrong.

Judge Mairead Allan said: “The ponies were judged on a points system - marks out of five for harness, handler and then the pony itself.

"I had two ponies standing equal with 14 points but Eric and Cally had such a calm relaxed manner throughout the class and that’s what swayed me in their favour.

"It looked like a real partnership.”

Glen Clova won the use of an Isuzu D-Max pick-up for six months as a prize.

This year’s game fair, the 34th, attracted a new record of 34,400 visitors this year, when it took place in the grounds of Scone Palace.

The jam-packed itinerary saw visitors enjoy displays, demonstrations, have-a-go attractions and exhibitors covering everything from fishing, ferrets and falconry to gundogs, game cookery and guns. First held in 1989, it is the largest and longest-running game fair in Scotland is an important fundraiser for the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), a charity that conducts vital research into Scotland’s most vulnerable species.

Related topics: