THE Scottish Ploughing Championships return to the Borders later this month.
World ploughing champion Andrew Mitchell, of Forfar, will be competing in the contest over the weekend of October 27-28, defending his Scottish title won on the Black Isle last year.
And his father, Andrew, who was runner-up in the world reversible class at last month’s world championships in Croatia, will also be at this year’s 50th championships.
Scottish Championship Ploughing Association’s Peter Small said: “All types of ploughing will be carried out, from the ancient art of horse ploughing through to vintage trailing and mounted to modern reversible classes, while the latest tackle will be put through its paces in the demonstration plots.”
He added: “The event is a tractor spotter’s paradise with virtually every make you can think of at work on the stubble fields which are accessed by tractor buses.”
Organisers expect 180 competitors to take part on the 250-acre site at Coldstream Mains, Coldstream.
The event was last held in the region at Upper Nisbet, Jedburgh, in 2010.
This year Scotland will host the Six Nations Vintage Competition over two days when ploughmen will come from Northern Ireland, Wales, England, the Republic of Ireland and the Isle of Man to compete against three Scotsmen keen to win on home soil.
Most of the ploughing action takes place on the Saturday and Sunday, but there will also be preliminary events on Friday, including a Royal Highland Education Trust-organised visit by Borders children.
To celebrate the championships’ 50th anniversary, Borders Vintage Agricultural Association and local farmers are hoping to assemble 50 tractors and ploughs in a special display.
Also scheduled – if work allows – will be farmer host Colin McGregor’s Case Quadtrac articulated tractor which took part in the Quadtrac Challenge in Lincolnshire in the summer, when 50 of the huge machines cultivated a field at once for charity.
Trade stands offering wares and services, from parts for vintage ploughs to children’s books, will be on site along with catering and toilet facilities.
The first Scottish Championships match took place in Perthshire in November 1963 and the contest is held annually in October in a different area of the country each year with the aim of promoting the importance of good ploughing.
The late Bob Anderson of Lauder was the first Scotsman to win the British Ploughing Championship and went on to be the only Scot to represent Great Britain in the World Championships on two occasions.
The emerging 2012 Scottish champions will have the chance to represent their country in international competition next year including the World Championships in Alberta, Canada, next July.
Visit www.scotplough.co.uk for more information.