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
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
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
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 www.ploughmen.co.uk or from
the Society of Ploughmen on 01302 852469.
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