Thainstone Mart under the spotlight

The six-part series will focus on auction day at Thainstone.
The six-part series will focus on auction day at Thainstone.

Inverurie’s Thainstone Mart is one of the biggest markets of its kind in Europe.

Drawing farmers and their stock from across Scotland – and the UK – the mart is alive on auction days with fast bidding, farmers on ‘tenterhooks’ and livestock, often primped and preened to look their best.

The Mart, a new six-part observational documentary series from BBC Scotland beginning on Monday, January 18, reveals the characters at the heart of the action - the auctioneers.

Featured in the first episode, entitled Meet the Mart, and throughout the series is sheep auctioneer Colin Slessor.

A shepherd in his young days, he has been with the mart for more than 20 years.

He says: “We are trying to keep the attention of people, trying to keep them focused on the stock and to get them to bid as much as you can.You want the thing to be flying high, as much as you can for the farmer. It is his livelihood. You want the thing to be good.”

Another character in the series is head cattle auctioneer John Angus, who has been in the industry for 26 years.

Farmer Andrew Anderson is looking to get £2,000 plus for his prize-winning calf Izzy Lizzy at the Thainstone Spectacular Cattle Sale. John takes a trip to his farm near Elgin to assess his stock and his chances.

Series producer Holly Booth explains: “Many people have no idea what a mart is let alone how important it is to the farming community.

“We wanted to show a side of farming that is rarely seen in the media and Thainstone provided the perfect opportunity.

“Aberdeen and Northern Marts are one of the biggest farming co-operatives in Europe and the diversity of the business was a bit of a gift for us as film makers.

“We spent four months behind the scenes at the Mart and out and about on farms filming everything from the top end show calves at the Spectacular to the annual Shetland Pony Sale and just about everything in between.

“The mart staff were great to work with and the access they gave us meant we really managed to capture the drama and energy of life at the mart.”

The Mart is on BBC One Scotland on Monday at 7.30pm.