A record Highland Show prize haul for John?

John displays some of his craftsmanship.
John displays some of his craftsmanship.
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A Torphichen craftsman scooped a cartload of prizes at this year’s Royal Highland Show at Ingliston – the king of Highland shows.

Pensioner John Rennie walked away with seven ‘firsts’ and four ‘seconds’ for his fine hand-crafted walking sticks and shepherd’s crooks.

He won firsts in the neck crook plain wood head two-piece and in the fancy wood head one- or two-piece categories.

“I was astonished” said the flabbergasted hobbyist. “I thought that must be some kind of record.

‘‘I don’t know of anyone winning so many trophies in one event.”

Other wins came in the walking stick plain wood one- or two-piece display as well as plain buffalo horn; 
fancy buffalo horn; and leg cleek, horn and wood categories.

John (82) also was awarded the Mrs Allister Campbell memorial trophy for special handcrafts.

His four second prizes were in the neck crook fancy horn head; the walking stick plain horn head; fancy wood head; and fancy horn head.

John also got a third for his thumb stick.

He took up the hobby when he retired aged 65 and has been showing his work for around 15 years.

After his wife passed away two years ago, John immersed himself in his hobby full-time, fine tuning his skills to tip top form.

He said: “My wife died two years ago and I just spend all my time in the workshop now.

“Tup’s horn is the most admired design and also people like to carve a thistle into their work. It takes about 35 hours to complete a piece over about two weeks because it has to be heated so that it can be bent into shape and cooled down.”

At the show, he shared a special prize in the horse and cart section with Linlithgow man Alastair McLean for painstakingly restoring a vintage cart. He added that it was “a real labour of love but worth every minute.”