Lincolnshire’s top ploughmen and women were tested alongside competitors from across the country last weekend at the 69th British National Ploughing Championships at Nocton.
Competitors and visitors came from all parts of the country to take part or watch the competitions on a site provided by Beeswax Dyson Farming.
Around 250 ploughmen and women from all over Britain braved the showery weather to compete in classes for conventional, reversible and horse-drawn ploughs as well as vintage equipment.
The championships are organised by the Society of Ploughmen and was surrounded by trade stands, vintage and modern demonstrations and displays, country crafts and steam ploughing engines for visitors to the huge, 250 acre site.
The first day of the event saw thousands of visitors and happy ploughmen in fine weather, despite rain the day before. However, the second day was a challenge when the weather changed overnight to rain which continued into the following afternoon and left walkways similar to what can often be seen at Glastonbury.
The Reversible Plough-Off Final was won by Mick Chappell from Loversall, near Doncaster, ploughing with a Kubota tractor and Kverneland plough. Mick was a clear winner with 312 points, 26 points ahead of Ian Brewer from Wadebridge, Cornwall, himself a past British Champion, and William Tupper from Pulborough, West Sussex in third place.
The winner of the British Conventional title was Evan Watkin, from New Mills, near Newtown, Powys. Using a Case IH and Kverneland plough and finishing with 263 points Evan was just 5 points clear of local man, Ashley Boyles from Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, again a past British Champion. Bill Tonkin from Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon was in third place.
In the vintage ploughing finals, the Vintage Trailing Championship was won by John Milnes, a previous World Vintage and European Vintage Champion. John lives at Penistone, South Yorkshire and using a Massey Ferguson 35 and Ransome RSLD plough he beat Max Cherry from Maulden, Bedfordshire into second place and John Crowder from Sturton by Stow, Lincolnshire into third.
The Vintage Hydraulic Plough-Off Final winner was another seasoned ploughman, Richard Ingram from Atherstone, Warwickshire who finished well ahead of his competitors with a massive 42 point lead. Richard ploughs with a Massey Ferguson 35 tractor and a Ransome TS54 plough. Runner-up in this class was Norfolk’s Peter Carman with Charlie Nicklin from Congleton, Cheshire in third place.
The Classic Championship title was won by David Thomlinson from Escrick, near York who, ploughing with his Ford 3000 tractor and Ransome TS86 plough was well ahead of James McIndoe from West Lothian. Just one point behind in third place was Paul Studley from Devon. David Thomlinson was also judged to be the Overall Vintage Ploughing Champion.
The other main titles over the weekend were the Overall Horse Ploughing Champion, won once again by Jim Elliott from Methlick, Aberdeenshire; the High Cut Ploughing Champion, won by Derek Needham from Kings Lynn, Norfolk and the Overall Young Farmers Champion which was taken by Stuart Vickers from Malpas, Cheshire. The Supreme Championship title was judged independently from all the Championship winners and was won by Evan Watkin.
Unfortunately the weather affected many parts of the event, with some competitors’ equipment unable to cope with the conditions, trade stands covered in mud and the steam ploughing engines sinking. However, spirits would not be dampened and ever smiling faces kept the great atmosphere going and a good time was had by all.
Sue Frith, Chief Executive of the Society of Ploughmen, who organised the Championships said, “We were given a fantastic site by Beeswax Dyson Farming this year - it couldn’t have been bettered for the location, the size of the fields or facilities, and the Beeswax team were all a tremendous help. It’s so disappointing that the weather was against us, but we battled through the mud and I am very proud that we have a great team of volunteers, who with the help of the Beeswax team, put on the event and worked through the problems which faced us so well.”
Main sponsors of the event were Firestone, Maxam and Continental Tyres and full results can be found on www.ploughmen.co.uk.
The British National Ploughing Championships will be celebrating 70 years in 2020 when the event will be held at Mindrum, Northumberland on October 10 and 11.