- Britain’s top ploughmen and women were treated to some good ground to show off their skills at the 71st British National Ploughing Championships on the Chatsworth Estate on land at Glapwell, Derbyshire
A heavy downpour during the week softened the ground and more rain the day before made conditions good for the competitors who had travelled from all over the country to take part. Almost 250 local champions ploughed over the two days on a site kindly provided by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.
However, the rain meant some sticky conditions in other parts of the site, such as trade stands arriving and competitors arriving to find their lorries having to be towed on to the field. The sun then shone for the weekend, so competitors had near-perfect conditions to show off their skills in the various categories of ploughing.
The Reversible Plough-Off Final was won by Mick Chappell from Loversall, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, ploughing with a Ford tractor and Kverneland plough. This is the third time Mick has won the title and he finished with 330 points, ahead of two former British Champions – just 4 points in front of Ian Brewer from Wadebridge, Cornwall, and 27 points clear of Peter Alderslade from East Boldan, Tyne & Wear who came in third.
The winner of the British Conventional title was James Witty from East Lutton, near Malton, North Yorkshire. James also used a Ford/Kverneland combination and also beat two past British Champions with 270 points. Evan Watkin from Newtown, Powys was second with 263 points and Nigel Vickers from Sarn, Malpas, Cheshire was third just one point behind. This is the first time that James has ever won the Conventional title, although he has won the Reversible title twice before and is a past World Reversible Champion.
Mick and James have now qualified to represent England in the 2023 World Ploughing Contest which will be held in Latvia.
In the vintage ploughing finals, the Vintage Trailing Championship was won by John Crowder from Sturton by Stow, Lincolnshire. John retained the title from last year and is the current European Vintage Ploughing Champion. Using a Fordson N tractor and a Ransome RSLD plough, he scored 261 points, beating Trevor Johnstone from Wigton, Cumbria into second place with a 15 point lead. Two points behind Trevor was a previous World and European Vintage Champion, John Milnes from Penistone, South Yorkshire.
The Vintage Hydraulic Plough-Off Final winner was Richard Ingram from Atherstone, Warwickshire, who finished well ahead of the competition with a 23 point lead. Since the Vintage Hydraulic Plough-Off Final was brought in five years ago, this is the fourth time Richard has won it, gaining 267 points with his Massey Ferguson 35 and Ransome TS54 plough. Second place was George Black from Earlston, Berwickshire and in third place was Ian Berriman from Driffield, East Yorkshire.
The Classic Championship title was won for the third time in a row by David Thomlinson from Escrick, near York who, ploughing with his Ford 3000 tractor and Ransome TS86 plough was in front of Jon Cole from Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire by just 2 points. David scored 266 points, Jon 264 points and another 2 points behind with 262 points was Nick Morely from Lowdham, Nottinghamshire.
Brand new this year was the Classic Reversible Plough-Off Final which was won by Graham Sutton from Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Graham ploughed with a Massey Ferguson 65 tractor and a Ransome TS82 plough and won 303 points, a seven point lead over Stephen Watkins from Maltby, South Yorkshire and a 30 point lead from his son, George Sutton who finished with 273 points.
The Overall Vintage Champion, judged independently, was John Crowder and all of the vintage winners have qualified to plough in the 2023 European Vintage Ploughing Championships in the Netherlands.
The other main titles over the weekend were the Overall Horse Ploughing Champion, won by Martink Kerswell from Fordingbridge, Hampshire; the Overall Young Farmers Champion which was taken by Stuart Vickers from Malpas, Cheshire and the High Cut Ploughing Champion, won by Derek Needham from Kings Lynn, Norfolk. The Supreme Championship title was judged independently from all the title winners and was won by James Witty. All the trophies on the second day were presented by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.
Mark Turner, Chairman of the Society of Ploughmen, who organised the Championships said, “We were given a fantastic site on the Chatsworth Estate this year and we were delighted that our hosts, the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, could join us for the presentation. It made it very special for the prize winners this weekend.”
Main sponsors of the event were Firestone, Aztec Oils and Continental Tyres and further support was given by Lantra, Homefire, AR Demolotion, Cheffins, Tama UK, Dalton Tags, Ripon Farm Services, HME, Russells and Dales Agri Sales Agency. Full results can be found on www.ploughmen.co.uk.
A date for your diary – the 72nd British National Ploughing Championships will be held on 14th and 15th October 2023 at Bishop’s Lydeard, near Taunton, Somerset.