Scotland hosted the prestigious European Reversible Ploughing Championships for the first time in its 33 year history at Saltcoats Farm, Gullane, East Lothian on 19th & 20th October. Ploughers from Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Estonia, France, Germany, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Russia, Switzerland and Scotland enjoyed two days of ploughing on excellent ground provided by J J and K Trainer and Luffness Ltd.
Piper Craig McDonald gave a stirring introduction to the opening ceremony and raising of flags on Wednesday morning. Andrew Mitchell Snr, six times World Reversible Champion ploughed the opening furrow to start the competition.
At the end of the first day the Emerald Isle ploughers held all three top spots with Jer Coakley and Liam O'Driscoll from County Cork in 1st place with 217 points and 2nd with 191 points respectively. David Wright from Magherafelt, Northern Ireland was in 3rd place with 189 points.
On the second day Jer and Liam retained their placings with Scotland's Dave Carnegie taking 3rd place and David Wright in 4th. Jer took the 2016 European Reversible title with 418 points; Liam Reserve Champion with 387 points and David Wright 3rd with 372 points. Dave Carnegie was 4th overall with 361 points.
All ploughers and their teams stayed in the Kings Manor Hotel, Edinburgh and they were well looked after by hotel staff. New friendships were forged and the Prize-giving Gala Dinner on the Thursday evening was a Scottish affair with David Henderson giving a toast to Rabbie Burns and the haggis. Ewan Galloway and his Scottish Dance Band provided music after the excellent repast with many taking to the dance floor.
Saturday morning dawned fine and clear for the 54th Scottish Ploughing Championships at West Fenton, North Berwick by kind permission of W Courtenay Morrison and Co. There were over 200 plots to plough over the two days - the largest entry for many years.
The world style conventional and reversible classes are scored over two days with no results announced on the first day.
The Conventional winner on Day 1 was Mark Skea from Inverurie, who came 4th in the Plough Off on Sunday. Ian McDonald from Keith was 2nd on Day 1 coming 1st on Day 2 to win the Conventional Overall title and the invitation to represent Scotland at the World Ploughing Championships in Kenya in 2017.
The Reversible butts winner on Day 1 was Dave Carnegie from Laurencekirk. The Reversible Plough Off was won by James Tait from Thurso. Dave had sufficient points over the two days to take the Reversible Overall title and will join Ian in Kenya next year.
Stuart Forsyth from Berwick won the overall Classic on Saturday and overall Vintage Mounted on Sunday. Stuart will represent Scotland at the European Vintage Ploughing Championships in Germany next year.
The non-hydraulic classic reversible trophy was regained by Raymond Middleton from Elgin and Ross Anderson from Cumnock won the multi furrow reversible.
Ray Alderson from Darlington won the Vintage Trailing class as well as the Overall Vintage Championship. Jim Elliott from Stanley won the Horse Championship.
Kverneland took 1st and 2nd place in the Demonstrators section. Douglas Greig from Dundee won the Juniors section.
Main sponsor for both events was Kverneland UK which was greatly appreciated. The events were also supported by EventScotland and East Lothian Council.
Stuart Turner, Head of EventScotland, said: “We are delighted with the success of both the European Reversible Ploughing Championships and Scottish Ploughing Championships.
Both events play an extremely important role in promoting Scotland’s rich farming culture and heritage and, of course, in attracting hundreds of visitors to the region to witness the top national and international ploughers compete.”
More information is available on the website at www.scotplough.co.uk and you can also keep up to date with the latest news via the Scottish Ploughing Championships Facebook page.