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Stackyard News Oct 07

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    British National Ploughing Championships & Country Festival

North Yorkshire will be host the British National Ploughing Championships & Country Festival on October 13th and 14th this year. Some 15,000 visitors are expected to attend this amazing two-day event which is taking place at Crockey Hill, just south of York.


The National Ploughing Championships are a highlight of the farming year - especially this year when many local ploughing competitions in the south have been forced to take the decision to cancel in the light of the latest foot and mouth outbreak.

Over the last two decades England's ploughing teams have proved to be the most successful across the world. North Yorkshire based Simon Witty, the current World Reversible Ploughing Champion, has held the title for the last four years, beating off tough competition from other teams around the world. Although he is taking a break from ploughing this autumn, the other competitors in the National Championships won't have it easy, as both his father Graeme, and younger brother James, are taking part - both ex-world champion ploughmen themselves!

Only one lady plougher (or should it be ploughwoman?) is taking part this year - seventeen year-old Debbie Watson from Hallington, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Debbie is one of twenty-six young farmers who will be battling for the titles of British Young Farmer's Champion Ploughman on the first day, and also a chance to compete with the other top qualifiers for a chance to take part in the 'plough-off' on the second day to find the overall British National Champions. These titles will be hotly contested by some of the country's top ploughmen in conventional and reversible ploughing, competing for the honour of representing England at the 2008 World Ploughing Contest to be held in Austria.

The event features various styles of ploughing - modern tractors pulling conventional and reversible ploughs; three vintage classes with vintage tractors pulling trailing, hydraulic and classic ploughs, and horse-drawn ploughs. Visitors can see displays and working demonstrations of vintage tractors and machinery dating from the First World War through to the 1970s and an increasingly rare opportunity to see giant steam ploughing tackle at work.

One of the most popular events with spectators is sure to be the heavy horses, which gives visitors the chance to watch the majestic shire horses at work as these magnificently turned out gentle giants evoke by-gone days when farming was an altogether a slower way of life.

With all of this, plus trade stands, machinery demonstrations and craft stalls, the Championships promise to be a rich mixture of rural arts and crafts, and the chance to see the nations top champions in action.

Ken Chappell, Executive Director of the Society of Ploughmen commented: "This really is a world-class event and it will be a fantastic family day-out; it's very difficult to get the message across of what a great day out it can be - children have a unique opportunity to compare farming throughout the ages with heavy horses, steam engines, vintage tractors and the modern day equipment. Some of the older generation can remember these working the fields, and everyone can enjoy the crafts and the huge variety of trade stands and stalls."

Ploughing was even featured on the BBC's Top Gear programme last year, where the Top Gear team were hoping to "grow their own fuel" and were seen on the programme ploughing the fields ready to sow their crop. One of Britain's top ploughing judges, David Chappell, who is also ploughing in this event, was invited to judge Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May's attempts at ploughing. They managed half a point for effort!

The Championships will take place on land at Wheldrake Lane (off the A19) at Crockey Hill. It will be well signed from major roads in the vicinity.

Further information can be found on or from the Society of Ploughmen on 01302 852469.

link Massive Trade Support for British Ploughmen
link Yorkshireman Sets New World Ploughing Record
link 56th British National Ploughing Championships

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Society of Ploughmen