Are you Ploughing fit? Below are ten tips to ensure you have a great experience at the biggest outdoor event in Europe.
The 2016 National Ploughing Championship, to be held on 600 acres in Screggan, near Tullamore, Co Offaly, will take place from September 20-22. It is the biggest outdoor event in Europe. Over 280,000 people will attend. You need to be prepared if you are to tackle it properly.
1: Plan your route
All roads lead to the Ploughing, and it’s important to plan your route. Keep in mind that the Ploughing site, like Dublin city, has its own ‘rush hours’. You should either arrive early and leave early or arrive late and leave late. Visit the Ploughing Championship site for more details.
2: Park it right
Finding your car when you want to leave after a long day can be tricky. The car park you arrive in – especially if you arrive early and the field is half full – will look nothing like the car park you encounter on your return. Take note of the colour of the car park, is it the purple or the green park? Take a picture of where you put your car. Try and pick out something that will ‘mark’ where you park, are there any recognisable and memorable landmarks nearby?
3: Pack the right things
Treat the Ploughing like you would a long ‘adventure’ in the country or a day out, hill walking. Bring the key essentials with you in a rucksack, like sun cream and baby wipes. Don’t forget water.
4: Welly good
It’s best to wear a sturdy pair of waterproof boots or wellingtons. There will be mud, and the ground will get soft underfoot in places. Dress shoes or high heels are a definite no-no.
5: Dress to impress the weather
The day may start off warm, but it could change very quickly. This is September. Be prepared for four seasons in the one day. Make sure you have a light waterproof jacket with a hood but leave the brolly at home, the crowds are too vast to use an umbrella with comfort.
People selling their wares at the Ploughing love a bit of banter and the exchange. Make sure you get the best deal. Bartering is expected by most sellers.
7: Mind the kids
The Ploughing is a very child-friendly environment but there’s always the danger of a little one getting lost. Make sure they have an identity on them. Perhaps even write their name and your mobile number on the back of their hand just in case.
8: Eat well
It’s a long day. Get the right kind of food into you. Have a substantial breakfast. Bring supplies. A ‘lock of ham sambos’ in your rucksack is advisable, along with a few bananas, a bottle of water and some chocolate. There are also many food stalls at the event, so don’t panic if you get hunger pangs.
9: Go to see the actual ploughing
Apart from the hundreds of stalls selling everything under the sun and all the cool farm machinery on display, the real Ploughing Championships take place in the fields around the commercial, tented area. Go out and see the ploughmen and women in action. It’s absorbing.
10: Know where to get cash
Make sure you visit the best tents and marquees. There are lots of bargains to be had. Do your research. Study the map. If you need cash, the Bank of Ireland tent (located on Block 2, row 11) has an ATM and there are ATMs in key locations around the site.
IS THIS THE FUTURE?: Farming at sea.
Image from BasPhoto / Shutterstock.com.