The organisers of the 70th British National Ploughing Championships & Country Festival which takes place this weekend (October 9 and 10) are watching weather reports closely and hoping the sun will shine at the weekend.
Rain is forecast mid-week but this shouldn’t affect the 250-acre site at Mindrum Mill, north Northumberland, close to the Scottish border . “At the moment, the forecasts look good but it doesn’t worry us anyway – if it does rain just bring your wellies,” said Sue Frith, chief executive of the Society of Ploughmen.
Ploughmen and women from all over Great Britain will be travelling to Northumberland and one of the ploughers will be host farmer and president of the Society of Ploughmen, Ian Harvey. The other competitors know that he won’t get any preferential treatment, but he does have an advantage in that he knows exactly how the fields will plough, whatever the weather.
This national event which moves around the country each year is not all about ploughing. There are lots of competitions with ploughmen and women vying to win the British Championship titles, some with a chance to take part in international competitions next year, but there will also be vintage tractors, giant steam ploughing engines and horses ploughing. These, along with the local machinery dealers showing farmers the latest in new machinery, gives visitors a fantastic opportunity to see how our farming heritage has changed over hundreds of years, all in a working environment.
There will also be a wide range of agricultural trade stands, shopping stalls and crafts so you will be able to buy anything from a tractor or a set of tyres, to a new jacket, a jar of jam or a new dog collar for your four-legged friend. Dogs are allowed on leads.
As it is such a huge site, the local young farmers club will be driving tractors and trailers for ‘bus’ rides so visitors can see everything.
The site is easy to find. It’s midway between Wooler and Kelso on the B6396 and will be signed from the major roads.