Campbell Cameron: The Lorn Vintage Ploughing Match

Lorn  ploughing 1 campbell cameron

A cold day with a biting east wind greeted the gladiators at Ardachy in North Connel today, Saturday 23rd March.

Tractors and ploughs were entered from all quarters of Argyll and further afield.

No-one had bargained for the snow that fell on the south of Argyll though making travel from Bute and Kintyre all but impossible so the event lost a few competitors – and all of the horse drawn class.

The Ardachy farm is part of the Ardchattan Estate and was provided as a venue thanks to the enthusiasm of Sarah Troughton and family.

It offers a great ploughing field on the banks of Loch Etive easily accessible from Connel Bridge.

Lorn  ploughing 2 campbell cameron

Now in its thirteenth year the Lorn vintage ploughing match draws a good local crowd and raises money for the ABCD cardiovascular charity.

So far, the society through the annual match has raised over £8500 to this good cause.

The whole emphasis is on a great day out for the farming community and the whole family attends.
I remember well a day in the early 70′s perhaps, and a match at Balure of Lochnell where I was introduced to the delights of a ploughing match.

Lorn  ploughing 3 campbell cameron

It was a cold March day, just like today and like today I was sheltering from the wind inside a cattle float which that day was doubling as the tea room and place for strong lemonade.

The craic was good and the adults were having fun – just like us youngsters! We ran about to keep warm as much to have fun that day.

‘How are you avallich?’ said a pal of my dad, ‘are you cold there?’ I was and readily agreed ..’Here’, he said, ‘take that and it will warm you up!’

My first dram of whisky..and boy it warmed as it flowed down. Thanks Charlie. I still enjoy a warming dram after a hard days spectating.

Today there were a few drams about the field – strong lemonade and hot coffee with bacon rolls to keep us warm.

Lorn  ploughing 4 campbell cameron

The magnificent cup that the winner got was filled with the ‘water of life’ and passed round like a quaich of friendship in a crowd of friends – it’s that kind of day.

Today, and on days before, John MacCormick from Appin was the victor, taking a swathe of trophies for his hard work and persistence. He used a Massey Ferguson 135 and a Begg plough in the 8″ class. The red Massey is the tractor of choice in the Highlands and the Begg plough has the same fervent following. The implement is so well respected it sits  in the National Museum of Scotland. I am sure Harry Ferguson’s venerable tractor features in museums in Ireland.

For the winning combination it was a great day in North Lorn.

The MacCormick family have been great supporters and instigators of the Lorn ploughing revival and they put a lot of work into their machinery – both vintage and veteran.

Today’s program paid homage to a series of matches that took place in 1856 under the auspices of the Lorn Agricultural Society. Here’s to the next 150 years at the Lorn ploughing match.

Campbell Cameron

Note: The photographs accompanying this article are by Campbell Cameron and show, from the top:

  • The MacCormick Clan  – the winners, John (second right) and his father Gregor (left), along with Donnie and John’s son, also Gregor (on the right).
  • The men at work – the children at play.
  • George Mutch (Perth) surveys the competition.
  • The winners silverware minus the celebration cup.
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3 Responses to Campbell Cameron: The Lorn Vintage Ploughing Match

  1. Not in All Argyll.. plenty of the younguns interested but we have a lot of work to do to make the job work better… feeding ourselves would be a good idea.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Not much sign of the “younguns” in these pictures .
      The level of self sufficiency in food production has fallen relentlessly for over 20 years .Argyll Farms previously models of efficiency and good farming practice have returned to rushes , many hills are devoid of cattle and sheep , dairy cow numbers are at all time lows .
      Sadly the people who have created this mess still lead the industry and have not a clue how to reverse the devastation they have created . The latest wheeze is to try to force farmers to keep livestock or receive no subsidy , the so called recoupling . Doomed to fail . The only thing that will keep people on the land is if the work is profitable and there is no sign of that .
      The entire family farm structure of the industry is close to collapse with most parents willing their sons and daughters to turn to other careers .

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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