Successful Ploughing Championships in Drumahoe
Thousands of visitors flocked to Drumahoe last weekend to enjoy the European Reversible Ploughing Contest which was held in Northern Ireland for the first time.
Northern Ireland continues to set high standards for competitive ploughing having won the European contest for the last four out of five years. Many of Europe’s top ploughmen along with their supporters travelled to the North West, to take part in a festival of ploughing organised by Northern Ireland Ploughing Association.
12 ploughing teams from across Europe including Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Czech Republic along with the home nations participated with each country have two competitors. Many of the competitors had brought their own tractors and ploughs with them with some competitors borrowing equipment from local ploughing enthusiasts.
The contest took place on Friday and Saturday with the overall winner being declared from the aggregate scores from both day’s ploughing. John Whelan, from Co Wexford, and a former winner of the contest ploughed a near perfect plot on Friday and finished ahead of Alan Critchlow from England and David Wright from Northern Ireland. On Saturday, there was an extremely high standard of ploughing across the contest saw Peter Alderslade from England take the bronze medal, David Wright win the silver medal and John Whelan take his second gold medal of the contest. Day 2 results reflected the overall standing of the contest with John Whelan taking the overall gold medal ahead of David Wright and Peter Alderslade. Martin Stewart from Garvagh was competing in his first European contest and finished 5th on Friday and 9th overall. Prize winners were declared at a packed gala evening held in the White Horse Hotel last Saturday evening.
Kerstin Malmevik was one of the Swedish Ploughing team who attended the ploughing contest. Speaking after the event Kerstin said “The contest was held in a very friendly atmosphere and it was great to see all the competitors talking and laughing with each other ahead of the tractor parade ahead of the event.” As part of the event, many European visitors went on tours of the North West, including the Causeway Coast and Londonderry itself. Kerstin continued “It was great to have the chance to see the beautiful North West and the excellent hospitality that all visitors have experienced has been fantastic”.
Northern Ireland Ploughing Association Chairman, Mr Lindley Deans, paid tribute to the many people involved in making the event such a success. Speaking at the gala evening Mr Deans said “I would like to thank our host, Henry & Evelyn Craig, for providing an excellent ploughing site and for all the work they put leading up to the contest. Weather conditions were not in our favour, with many farmers across Europe experiencing a late harvest. However, the ploughing conditions that we experienced in Drumahoe were very good with a high standard of ploughing across the class. I would also like to thank all our sponsors including Danske Bank, City of Derry Council, DARD, Agco and Kverneland for their important contribution. Finally, to the many competitors and visitors who travelled from across Europe, we hope they have had an enjoyable time in the North West”.
Welcome from 2012 Host
It was a pleasure for my wife and I to welcome the Northern Ireland Ploughing Association to Gorticross farm, Drumahoe, Londonderry, for the 69th Northern Ireland International Ploughing Championships and the 29th European Reversibles. My brother, Dr. Tom Craig, has previously hosted the ploughing championships at his farm in Eglinton, and it was an honour for me to follow in his footsteps.
These events take a lot of planning, and the Association has worked tirelessly behind the scene over the last year for the event to be a success and run smoothly. I extend a huge thanks to the main sponsors, The Danske Bank, and also to all other sponsors and the media, without whom an event like this could not take place.
It has been a pleasure to welcome all those from across the country and all over Europe to Gorticross for this great event. To all visiting competitors, judges and spectators, I hope you had a wonderful time.
I would like to thank family and especially my wife, Evelyn, for all their help and support through this very difficult year in the farming industry.