The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS)
The purpose of RHASS is to support and encourage the best of agriculture, to communicate and bring to life its value and develop a greater appreciation of the impact of agriculture on everyday life.
Very few modern organisations can trace their heritage back to 1784. Even fewer can say they have remained true to their founders’ values and beliefs. Yet this is the case for The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland. This unique organisation remains as focused on delivering the Society’s objectives for the benefit of Scottish agriculture and rural communities today as when it was founded well over 200 years ago.
The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland is proud of its heritage and notable achievements in the promotion of land-based and allied business in Scotland. With around 15,000 members – many of whom are landowners and farmers responsible for the stewardship of Scotland’s countryside and environment – the Society aims to inspire and support innovation, excellence and achievement. The Society plays a pivotal role in the creation of a better public understanding of the management of the land and rural resources; from delivering world-class education programmes to providing engaging platforms to celebrate the best in farming, food and rural life at the Royal Highland Show.
The Society’s directors and staff have significant expertise across agri-business, food and drink, rural affairs, conservation, environment, land management, event management, finance and governance. Working together with other key influencers and industry bodies, they continue to shape this dynamic and vibrant industry of such importance to Scotland and look to the future with confidence, ambition and determination.
The Royal Highland Show and Showcase
The Royal Highland Show is one of Scotland's most iconic events; attracting over 1,000 exhibitors, 4,500 head of livestock and up to 195,000 visitors and is regarded as one of Europe’s largest agribusiness shows. The four-day event contributes around £65million to the economy and offers fun for all ages; getting up close to the country's top quality livestock, tasting exceptional food & drink and experiencing rural living at its most vibrant.
It was with huge disappointment that the planned 180th show in 2020 had to be cancelled due to Covid-19. Due to the ongoing restrictions, we have had to cancel the 2021 Show but, excitingly, we have put on a live Showcase behind closed doors event which was held in the week of 14th June 2021. The Showcase event exhibited the best in livestock judging, equestrian, food & drink and rural skills livestreamed from the showground in Edinburgh to a global audience; giving a fantastic opportunity to bridge the gap between a no show year in 2020 and the 180th Royal Highland Show celebration in 2022, the bicentennial anniversary of the very first show.
The Royal Highland Centre
RHASS is based at the Royal Highland Centre (RHC), Scotland's largest indoor & outdoor venue. Before Covid-19 it attracted over one million visitors each year to over 200 events. Its offering is unique in that it provides event organisers with a versatile indoor and outdoor space that can accommodate multiple events simultaneously, from music festivals, and experiential events to large-scale exhibitions and of course Scotland’s largest outdoor event – the Royal Highland Show.
The RHC underwent major development three years ago, bringing in a ‘Plug and Play’ design so that everything an event organiser would need to host an event is already set up and ready to go. Events can be hosted anywhere across the 110-acres of parkland, main arena, track area and countryside area.
RHASS’s trading company HCL, manages third party events at the RHC, generating income to support RHASS’s charitable activities.
Since the outbreak of Covid, HCL has pivoted to attract a different type of client including the NHS and the Royal Mail. More recently we have been able to return to planning and hosting some live events.
The centre took delivery of its state of the art event space on the eve of the first lockdown. The first time the space was used was for an NHS vaccination centre and a strategy is being developed for its future launch as an event centre.
The Royal Highland Education Trust
The Royal Highland Education Trust, of which RHASS is the sole member, works with volunteers to provide free educational activities and experiential learning opportunities linked to the Curriculum for Excellence.
RHET aims to provide the opportunity for every child in Scotland to learn about food, farming and the countryside and to create a wider understanding of the environmental, economic and social realities of rural Scotland.
This is achieved through a number of key activities:
- Farm visits for schools
- Classroom speaker talks by volunteer farmers
- Providing free educational resource materials for schools
- Outdoor education events across Scotland
- Competitions and projects for schools
- Training farmers and teachers in the delivery of information relating to food and farming
- The Royal Highland Show education programme for visiting schools and Children’s Education Centre
RHET works with partners to provide and deliver world-leading learning opportunities for all Scotland’s young people aged 3 to 18, in and through the Scottish agricultural environment and the countryside. Before Covid-19, every academic year, RHET took more than 16,500 children onto farms and estates throughout Scotland and over 28,000 pupils had a farmer come and talk in their school.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, activity has moved online to support teachers, children and parents in learning about food, farming and the countryside. RHET continues to plan for a return to face to face visits when possible.
For more information please visit the links below:
- Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland website
- Royal Highland Education Trust
- Royal Highland Show