Virtual contest helps competitive ploughing thrive

The online event replaced ploughing matches which were cancelled due to the pandemic
The online event replaced ploughing matches which were cancelled due to the pandemic

An online contest has enabled ploughing enthusiasts from across the globe to compete following the cancellation of hundreds of matches due to Covid-19.

The nation’s ploughing skills was recently celebrated through VPlough, a virtual contest which saw over sixty people take part.

The participants, aged between 15 to over 80, filmed their ploughing skills and submitted files online for experts to judge.

Classes included modern reversible ploughs, vintage tractor ploughs, and horse-drawn ploughs.

The virtual event was organised by Karen Wheeler from Kent, who has been a ploughing contest enthusiast since her childhood.

A love of ploughing led to her serving as secretary of one of the ploughing world’s key events, the Weald of Kent Ploughing Match Association, for 23 years.

With Covid-19 resulting in ploughing matches being cancelled, Ms Wheeler came up with the idea of a virtual event.

The online show, which was given financial support by NFU Mutual, raised over £5,000 for all 23 UK & Ireland Air Ambulance Charities.

Ms Wheeler said: “We came up with idea of virtual ploughing back in July to try and keep competitive ploughing going despite all events being cancelled.

“It took some time to convince farmers to enter – but eventually they really got behind the idea.

"It’s been great to watch highly skilled ploughing online and meet up online with entrants from across the UK – and even as far afield as Canada."

Ms Wheeler said VPlough will run again in 2021 with a longer window for entries, and again raising money for air ambulance charities.