Ollie Turner with his Diesel powered 1954 “Little Grey Field Mouse”. It’s only his second match with this particular tractor and mounted plough but he’s been competing for over twenty years.
When I found that some of my friends were in the North Bucks Vintage Tractor Club, I just had to go to the club's latest event; a ploughing match.
I turned up at the match in a field near Castlethorpe on a sunny Sunday morning in February to find plenty of classic and veteran tractors lining up to plough.
Progress was slow to begin with. The first spit or opening (the first furrow) is the most important one and there was plenty of stopping, adjusting, and starting again.
Every other furrow has to line up with the first spit. The ploughing has to be to a consistent depth and width, and be as straight as possible. That’s less easy than it sounds; soil varies, even in different parts of the same field. Moisture content makes a difference too.
The weather had been dry for a few days but a little rain beforehand would have made ploughing easier, one of the ploughmen told me.
Closest to the camera is an International Harvester B414. These tractors were built in Bradford between 1961 and 1966. Further away with Hanslope’s steeple beyond it, is a Massey Ferguson 65; big brother to the 35 (see the photo below) they were made in Detroit between 1958 and 1964.
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