A herd of multi-coloured life-sized Belted Galloway is appearing all round Dumfries and Galloway with an invitation for visitors and locals to snap a “Selfie with a Beltie”.

The cut-out cows, created from sustainable materials, are intended to highlight some of the best that south west Scotland has to offer in food, drink, leisure, culture, society and tourism.

Among them are one covered in hearts for Gretna Green, The UK’s weddings capital, one decorated with book covers in Wigtown, Scotland’s National Book Town, and one with scallop shells for the fishing port of Kirkcudbright.

There is also a rainbow Beltie that will be placed near the Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary hospital, Dumfries, in recognition of the work by NHS staff during the pandemic.

The Selfie with a Beltie project is part of a series of bright, bold arts initiatives designed to make the most of Dumfries and Galloway’s role as “host” region for The Royal Highland Showcase in Partnership with Royal Bank of Scotland which takes place from 14-20 June.

The Showcase event replaces the annual Royal Highland Show, at the Ingliston Showground near Edinburgh, and while it is having to take place behind closed doors it will be live streamed for free. 

A different region of Scotland is invited to act as host each year, giving it a chance to highlight its rural economy.

Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) honorary president, the broadcaster and Lord Lieutenant of Dumfries Fiona Armstrong, said: “We can’t bring the public to the showground, so we are taking Dumfries and Galloway to the world – and there’s no better-loved symbol of the region than our Belties.

“These 12 colourful cut-outs will put the focus on some of the brilliant things our region offers including chocolate and ice cream from our dairy herds, scallops from the sea, mountain biking and kayaking in the hills and lochs – right the way through to romance at Gretna and the bookshops of Wigtown.

“As Covid restrictions ease in the months and years ahead we hope people will enjoy posting pictures of themselves with our Belties, and even travelling around to snap the whole herd.”

The Belties were created and distributed by Alba Printers of Dumfries, with design input from students and Dumfries and Galloway College.

One, the Camouflage Beltie, will be at Ingliston during the Showcase as part of the Veterans’ Garden initiative which involves former military personnel from the region creating a colourful flower garden and a portable display at the showground. After the event it will go to the Veterans’ Garden in Dumfries, which has a children’s play area.

Other arts initiatives taking place as part of the President’s Initiative include:

  • A showground mural showing the wildlife and livestock of Dumfries and Galloway
  • A 12-foot wicker Beltie bull which will be on show at Ingliston and then taken to events and locations in Dumfries and Galloway.
  • A series of short films about what the region has to offer in food, farming, leisure and more.

There are also photographic and cake baking competitions.

  • For full information follow the Showcase on social media @ScotlandRHShow. 
  • Pictures by Colin Hattersley

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Notes for Editors

For media information contact Matthew Shelley at Matthew@ScottishFestivalsPR.Org or 07786 704299. For wider Royal Highland Showcase press enquiries contact Represent at Erin@representcomms.co.uk.

Where to find the Selfie Belties

The Belties by numbers – and their themes.

1                Stranraer                                                                          Galloway tartan

2                Wigtown (Scotland’s National Book Town)                  Books

3                Kirroughtree, Newton Stewart                                       Mountain Bikes                       

4                Gatehouse of Fleet                                                          Ice cream

5                Kirkcudbright                                                                    Scallop shells

6                Twynholm                                                                          Chocolate                                                    

7               Parton, Castle Douglas                                                     Kayaks

8               DGRI Dumfries hospital                                                    Rainbow

9               Moffat                                                                                 Hiils and walking

10             Gretna Green                                                                       Hearts

11             Langholm                                                                             Armstrong tartan

12             Ingliston Veterans’ Garden (later Dumfries)                    Camouflage

For more about Alba printers see https://www.albaprinters.co.uk

The presidential team

Each of the Vice Presidents have business and farming experience in the region. They are Alasdair Houston, Alistair Marshall, Hugh Ramsay and Percy Weatherall. They are supported by RHASS regional directors: Ian Beck, Matthew Currie, James Dunlop, Jim Hastings, Heather Wildman and Liz Vance, with John Mackie and Lorraine Mair, whilst Alex Cairns is the chaplain.

About The Royal Highland Show