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High winds and biting hail make for a chilly plough match at West Greenland


By David G Scott

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Despite weather conditions being tough the ground was in good shape for the vintage tractor ploughing match at West Greenland farm on Saturday.

Caithness Vintage Tractor and Machinery Club (CVTMC) announced that Michael Mackay was once again overall winner on the day with his International tractor dating from 1929 which carried a drag plough.

Heading back at the end of the event is overall winner Michael Mackay with his International tractor dating from 1929 and a drag plough. Picture: DGS
Heading back at the end of the event is overall winner Michael Mackay with his International tractor dating from 1929 and a drag plough. Picture: DGS

As we approached the blustery field for some photographs and information, Alan Campbell from Gersa was just finishing off with his classic red International tractor. "In between the showers it went very well and the ground was in good condition," he said.

"It's finishing early since it's so cold and wet today and we chased on and got it done." Alan said there were hailstones lashing down from early that morning so he was thankful to be calling it a day.

Massey Ferguson leaves the field as conditions worsen. Picture: DGS
Massey Ferguson leaves the field as conditions worsen. Picture: DGS
Andrew Sinclair from Toftcarl farm won trophies on the day and was also overall winner at Sunday's Latheron Parish ploughing match in Reiss. Picture: DGS
Andrew Sinclair from Toftcarl farm won trophies on the day and was also overall winner at Sunday's Latheron Parish ploughing match in Reiss. Picture: DGS

Andrew Sinclair from Toftcarl farm was also finishing the match not long after 2pm and said the "weather wasn't great but the ploughing was fine". Andrew went on to win trophies on the day and was also overall winner at Sunday's Latheron Parish Ploughing Association’s 37th annual match in Reiss.

The three judges on the day were Donald Mackay, John Gunn and Alan Simpson. Picture: DGS
The three judges on the day were Donald Mackay, John Gunn and Alan Simpson. Picture: DGS
The wintry conditions were hard but the ground was good on the day for the ploughing. Picture: DGS
The wintry conditions were hard but the ground was good on the day for the ploughing. Picture: DGS

The three judges on the day were Donald Mackay, Rosskeen, Invergordon; Alan Simpson, Cairnside, Watten; and John Gunn, North Killimster. "The ground is surprisingly good and they've all coped very well," said Donald who added that the soil consistency had stood up well to the rain.

"It's a happy medium here today and they've all managed to plough their plots without too much bother so they should be happy with that." He joked that the only ones not happy were "us judges who are soaked to the skin".

From left, ploughing match convener George Williamson, chair of the club Andrew Mackay and club secretary Liz Hewitson. Picture: DGS
From left, ploughing match convener George Williamson, chair of the club Andrew Mackay and club secretary Liz Hewitson. Picture: DGS

George Williamson from Dixonfield was the new ploughing match convenor and said: "It went very well considering we had horrendous rain the night before and sleet and showers this morning.

"The ground conditions were excellent though so everyone's really happy. We had a later start this year and an earlier finish. It wasn't a spectator day today because of the weather." George was also out ploughing on his 1956 John Deere tractor and a plough from the late 1940s.

Andrew Mackay from West Greenland Farm where this year's event was held is CVTMC chairman and said: "Last Saturday, some of us got the field marked out and measured up the plots so they're all square." He said that the field used for the competition will probably be ploughed back over and sown with spring barley at the end of March next year. "Nowadays we use bigger ploughs with GPS technology to drive tractors in straight lines."

Liz Hewitson, CVTMC secretary said: "The vintage tractor club is greatly indebted to local individuals and companies for their generosity in donating items to the raffle and charity auction as well as donations. Over £5000 was raised on the day."

The winners with their trophies are flanked by the ladies who presented prizes. From left, Joanna Mackay, Andrew Sinclair, Gerald Macleod, Jonnie Mathieson, Martin Munro, Michael Mackay (overall winner) and Jane Fraser. Picture: Liz Hewitson
The winners with their trophies are flanked by the ladies who presented prizes. From left, Joanna Mackay, Andrew Sinclair, Gerald Macleod, Jonnie Mathieson, Martin Munro, Michael Mackay (overall winner) and Jane Fraser. Picture: Liz Hewitson

Caithness and Sutherland Vintage Tractor Club ploughing match results:

Class One – Drag: 1 Michael Mackay, West Greenland and winner of The Streight Family, Upper Thrumster Trophy for Drag Champion and Bennachie Cup (April 1933) for Best in Drag Class re-presented 2023 by Jane Fraser, Miller Avenue, Wick (to be rotated round the classes each year); 2 Martin Munro, Halkirk; 3 Jonnie Mathieson, North Kessock.

Doreen Barnie Trophy for Best Start, Finish and Straightest in Drag – Michael Mackay.

Class Two – Vintage Mounted: 1 Gerald Macleod, North Kessock and winner of The Mackay Family, Buldoo Trophy for Mounted Champion; 2 Alan Campbell, Gersa; 3 Brian Polson, Gersa.

Class Three - Classic: 1 Andrew Sinclair, Toftcarl and winner of the Caithness and Sutherland Vintage Tractor Club Trophy for winner of Classic Class; 2 Willie Mackay, Biggins; 3 Iain Sinclair, Thurso.

Overall results:

G Shearer, Seater Trophy for Best Start on Field – M Mackay.

W Mackay AI, Oldhall Trophy for Best Finish on Field – M Munro.

J Mackay, Thrumster Trophy for Straightest Furrow on Field – M Munro.

Doreen Barnie Trophy for Best Work by Pre 1950 Tractor – M Mackay.

Netherby Feeds Trophy for Neatest Ins and Outs on Field – J Mathieson.

The Gunn Family, Quoys of Reiss Trophy for Best Ploughed Lot by a Fordson Tractor – A Sinclair.

Caithness Vintage Tractor and Machinery Club Trophy for Outwith the County – G Macleod.

Reay Car Sales Trophy for Furthest Travelled – Jonnie Mathieson.

The Mackay Family, West Greenland Trophy for Confined to County – M Mackay.

Robertson’s of Tain Trophy for Overall Champion – M Mackay.

Best Looking Ploughman – J Mathieson.


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