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Achunabust or bust as vintage tractors lead the field for ploughing match


By David G Scott

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Conditions on the ground were "greasy" for a popular agricultural event held last Saturday at Achunabust Farm near Reay.

After a two year hiatus due to the pandemic, Caithness Vintage Tractor and Machinery Club had its annual vintage ploughing match with 20 competitors coming as far afield as Inverness and judges from Carnoustie.

International tractor dating from 1929 with an International drag plough and operated by Michael Mackay from West Greenland who was overall champion at the event. . Picture: DGS
International tractor dating from 1929 with an International drag plough and operated by Michael Mackay from West Greenland who was overall champion at the event. . Picture: DGS

Speaking at the event Sandy Mackay, ploughing match convenor, said: "It's going better than expected after a very wet morning. We had one boy pull out but it wasn't due to the ground conditions it was the diesel choked on his tractor.

"Ground conditions could be better as we had too much rain over the last few days and it's greasy on top. We were needing so much but we got too much rain now."

Sandy Mackay, ploughing match convenor at the event. Picture: DGS
Sandy Mackay, ploughing match convenor at the event. Picture: DGS

Sandy explained how the water had penetrated through the top couple of inches of the soil but it was "nearly bone dry" a bit deeper down making conditions tricky, especially for the older tractors as they don't have the same grip as newer models.

Judges on the day were Morris Blacklaws from Carnoustie; Grant MacDonald from Forfar; and William Campbell from Gersa. Stewards at the event were Clair Meiklejohn and Don Calder.

The ground had a lot of rain in the top layer but was drier a few inches down making the soil greasy. Picture: DGS
The ground had a lot of rain in the top layer but was drier a few inches down making the soil greasy. Picture: DGS

Sandy said that there is more to look forward to with the Scottish National Ploughing Championships being held at Stanstill Farm in Caithness on the last Saturday of October 2022. Ploughing season has begun in the county and will continue into spring next year.

Overall champion at the event was Michael Mackay from West Greenland farm driving an International with an International plough.

Winners announced at the end of the day were from left, Jamie Sinclair, Michael Mackay, Gerald Macleod, Johnny Matheson, Stevie Blackwood and Graeme Mackay.
Winners announced at the end of the day were from left, Jamie Sinclair, Michael Mackay, Gerald Macleod, Johnny Matheson, Stevie Blackwood and Graeme Mackay.

Competition results for the ploughing match are as follows:

Class 1 Drag: 1 Michel Mackay; 2 Graeme Mackay; 3 Johnny Matheson

Class 2 Mounted: 1 Gerald Macleod; 2 Iain Mackay/Campbell Morrison

Class 3 Classic: 1 Donnie Macdonald; 2 Stevie Blackwood; 3 Andrew Sinclair

Novice: Jamie Sinclair

Best start, straightest furrow, neatest ins and outs, on field: Michael Mackay

Best finish on field: Graeme Mackay

Best work with a pre-1950’s tractor: Michael Mackay

Best work with a Fordson tractor: Stevie Blackwood

Best start, finish and straightest furrow in drag: Michael Mackay

Confined to county champion: Michael Mackay

Overall champion: Michael Mackay

Outwith county: Johnny Matheson

Related article:

Vintage ploughing match at Achunabust this weekend


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