Ploughing ahead

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The most stylish and comfy ‘tractor’ in its field… : credit: © Tim Hammond
Tim enters his 1971 Range Rover in a very different type of off-road event

Our local ploughing match association (Bradworthy & District Ploughing Association) holds an event every year just up the road from where I live. This year, to mark 75 years of Land Rover, they had organised a section just for Land Rovers. As the day of the ploughing contest  came closer we had entered a September heatwave, which made a change from the previous wet few months. So, I got my 1971 two-door Range Rover out, which sadly I hadn’t really used much over the months of July and August due to the washout that was summer.

I had planned to do several local shows with the Range Rover this year, but because of the rain she mainly remained tucked up in the dry shed – as much for wanting to keep me dry as for the car.

In preparation for the ploughing match I set about giving the two-door a thorough wash to get the dust off; I wanted the old girl to look her best even though we were only going to be parked in a field amongst farm machinery. However, the washing was easier said than done, as it was so hot outside the water was drying up before I even got a chance to wipe it. Suffice to say, I polished her up inside the shed, out of the sun.

An impressive number of Series models attended

When I arrived at the ploughing venue.I was pleasantly surprised by just how many local Land Rovers had turned up. It was lovely to see and we pulled up between a 110 County Station Wagon and an ex-military 110 rag top.

Needless to say, mine was the only classic Range Rover. However, I wasn’t the only 100in. There was a lovely, very early 1989 white 200Tdi Discovery, which really looked to be a true survivor car. You do have to admire them, as they’re probably rarer now than my Suffix A Range Rover.

Lovely early Discovery

Over the subsequent few hours yet more Land Rovers turned up, with a wonderful mixture of Series Is, IIAs and IIIs, and Defenders both old and new. There were also, of course, fields and fields full of tractors. We went for a wander to check them all out and by the time we got back to the car we were very much in need of a sit down as it was so hot. Thankfully our friendly neighbours rolled out the awning on their 110, so we sat in the very welcome shade and chewed the cud about everything green oval.

We had the perfect vantage spot for the day’s activities too, as directly in front of us was an area where you could take your Land Rover ploughing! As we looked on several Series models gave it a go along with a V8-powered trialler going flat-out, engine singing and clods of dirt flying everywhere – it wouldn’t have taken long to plough the entire field at the speed he was knocking along at.

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With no other classic Range Rover in attendance, Tim’s stole the limelight

Suitably inspired, there was only one thing for it, the Range Rover had to have a go too. As it happens I have ploughed many times before with a tractor, but this was going to be my first ever attempt with a car. The process was familiar enough, though; I backed onto the plough, it was hitched up and away we went.

Setting off in low-range, and feet off the pedals she just chugged along with a plough in tow digging furrows behind. The early Range Rovers were very low geared, and she just ran on tickover and dragged the plough along with ease – this was certainly the comfiest ploughing I’ve done and by far the most stylish.

At the end of the day the old Range Rover looked as much at home doing this as any of the Series Land Rovers and, of course, the original Range Rover was very much designed to be the farmer’s car with its hose-out vinyl interior.

We had an absolutely brilliant day out, so a big thanks goes to the event’s organisers. To top things off, the two-door won best Land Rover in the show, which I was very chuffed with!

 

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