Traditional ploughing in Ayrshire

In the spring of 2009, the Mauchline Burns Club held a traditional ploughing match to commemorate the 250th Anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns. Fifteen pairs of horses from Scotland, Ireland and England took part in the competition, held at Mossgiel, the farm which Burns and his brother took on after their father's death.

The field hosting the ploughing match is one that the 'Ploughman Poet' would have ploughed with horses, and is also the same field where he overturned a mouse's nest, leading him to write 'To a Mouse.'

Ploughing matches were first promoted by the Society for Agriculture in the early 1800s and were big public occasions, where the turnout of man and horse were just as important as the quality of the ploughing. At the start of last century, horsemen were hired by farmers at the end of September to begin the traditional cycle of agricultural work. Between autumn and midwinter muck was spread and stubble fields were ploughed ready for sowing. The ploughman was considered one of the most skilled of the farm workers and they took a great pride in the quality of their furrows.

Page first published on Wednesday 22nd April 2009
Page last updated on Friday 24th April 2009


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