Horses, ploughing and when a flapjack is a crumble
The South Ronaldsay Boys Ploughing Match
There wasn’t a horse in sight. Just lots of peedie (that’s Orcadian for small) lasses in spangled costumes harking back to the Pearly Kings and Queens of London’s East End, standing on a catwalk (I know that should be some sort of equestrian term, but what?) in front of nervous parents. In front of the ‘horses’ were boys with their ploughs, the single blades being assessed for their ability to score the Sands o’Wright, just over the hill from St Margaret’s Hope, into the straightest and most even of furrows. Girls as horses, boys as ploughmen. Unacceptable as this would be for a new event starting in this day and age, the girls being allowed to take part at all was a significant breakthrough when the The Festival of the Horse and the Boys Ploughing Match were revived in the last century. You can read more about the history of this unique event on OrkneyJar.
Peedie David and Rosie from the farm up the lane took part in this years celebrations for the first time. Rosie’s costume was made by her Great Granny Scott and many of the outfits stored from year to year and generation to generation in family attics are over 100 years old. There are still Clydesdale horses on South Ronaldsay and the idea, as you can see from the shoes, is to celebrate the much loved breed and its adorned festival harnesses. Rosie got second place for her costume’s decoration.
Peedie David, watched by Dad David, was well pleased with his second prize for best kept wooden plough, 3rd for ploughing and second for best finish. I’m not sure that I understand the technicalities of all that but it was a great day in Grimness.
Not that I saw the ploughing mind, as I was on ‘provide a crumble and washing up’ duty by then in the Cromarty Hall for Ploughing Match lunches. I tweaked a recipe for a summer fruits crumble with an oaty topping that was really a runny flapjack. Not my recipe - a real throw back to a former life - but a super end of summer pud. I added cinnamon to the fruit and used runny honey instead of golden syrup. Just to be different.
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