THE Borders rolled out the red carpet for the 50th Scottish Ploughing Championships at Coldstream last weekend, writes Peter Small.
McGregor Farms and Lennel Estates and all their staff put in a lot of effort to provide a fantastic venue. Competitors and spectators turned up from far and wide – one ploughman drove his tractor from Ayrshire to take part.
After a very wet summer it was no surprise that conditions were tough for organisers and ploughmen, with difficult rigs, access routes and car parks.
It all started on a cool Friday morning with a covering of snow on the distant Cheviots. Those braving the conditions were from all over the British Isles, competing in the Six Nations Vintage Championships. Primary children from Coldstream, Swinton and Chirnside came on a Royal Highland Education Trust visit, and were shown all aspects of the fine art of ploughing by Willie Dunlop, Sandy Stevenson, Willie Grieve and former world champion Dave Carnegie. Host farmer Colin McGregor explained the reasons for ploughing before showing them his range of modern machinery.
On Saturday, the championships proper started with the completion of the Six Nations contest – England’s David Greenwood was overall winner.
Horse ploughing had only two pairs and the eventual winner, George Robertson, had to borrow a horse as one of his became unwell.
Difficult conditions in the classic class forced the withdrawal of several competitors but Jock Sivewright ploughed on to win overall with Berwick’s Stuart Forsyth reserve.
The general purpose class saw Andrew Mitchell take top honours, while the Borders had a class winner – George Riddell won the inaugural Friend of Ferguson T20 Class
Reversible ploughing saw Dave Carnegie win the Butts Class, multi-furrow winner was George McLachlan, and non-hydraulic winner was Raymond Middleton, with Kelso’s Bruce Richardson second. Sunday started wet but ploughing continued, with Davie Duncan on his own in the horse class, while John Milne was top in the high cut section. Best junior was Mathew Whitehead, while Allen McAnally and Peter Alderslade were top visitors in the conventional and reversible sections respectively.
In the vintage mounted classes, Colin Hewetson beat Stuart Bathgate of Dunbar in section A, while Dunbar’s Robin Forsyth won section B and overall awards. James Macpherson took the Trailing title.
In the plough-offs to determine the Scottish champions for the 2013 World Contest in Canada, Andrew Mitchell Jnr won his straight eighth Scottish title, while popular seasoned campaigner Dave Carnegie took the reversible crown.
Next year Caithness hosts the event for the first time.