Horsepower ploughs up Kintyre fields’ furrows

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A KINTYRE farmer has inadvertently unearthed people’s curiosity in ancient agriculture.

Stephen Jones, 54, from South Muasdale Farm, is finishing ploughing his fields beside the A83 with an old-fashioned plough pulled by two horses, after his tractor plough broke.

This drew the attention of several passers-by who pulled over to watch him at work, and take photos and videos.

Kenny Mitchell shared a video on Facebook of Mr Jones ploughing, and commented: ‘Something you don’t see often nowadays.’

On his first day working big Gypsy Cobs Joe, 7, and Finn, 15, Mr Jones managed to plough almost half an acre in just a few hours, on ‘very stony ground’.

There are five horses at South Muasdale, including two youngsters which are full brothers bred from Mr Jones’s Clydesdale cross, Joice, by a Suffolk Punch stallion, which are being broken in for work this summer.

Mr Jones said: ‘There is a surprising amount of horses being used for working now, both in woods for timber extraction and on smaller farms, as well as for a hobby so there is a demand for well schooled working horses which we have tapped into.

‘I am ploughing this field using the horses to get them going again as they have had a six month holiday while I relocated back to Kintyre.’

Originally Mr Jones was only going to plough a few acres but the field turned out to be so stony that it broke his reversible tractor plough so he is using the horses to do the rest.

‘I would have picked a different field if I had known, as it’s hard going when you don’t know where the stones are hiding,’ Mr Jones added, ‘As the plough hits a buried stone it causes it to dig in, which tips it forward and causes the handles to hit you as it lifts!

‘Ploughing with the horses isn’t really economical these days but on many jobs they are cheaper to use than tractors, especially on smaller farms.

‘Last year in Norfolk, we made over 80 acres of hay and used the horses to do most of the turning and rowing up using a team of three pulling a 16 foot tedder.

‘Neil MacPhail has been a great help with the horses, lending me a good heavy plough made by Ransomes of Ipswich…and also persuaded me to provide a field for the Largieside ploughing match in late July this year.’

The current field is going to be sown with barley, for feeding South Muasdale’s cattle and horses this winter, and will be under sown with grass.

The old-fashioned set-up which has attracted people's attention.
The old-fashioned set-up which has attracted people’s attention.
One of the large stones that Mr Jones has uncovered while ploughing.
One of the large stones that Mr Jones has uncovered while ploughing.
Mr Jones heading back to the farm house after feeding his cattle.
Mr Jones heading back to the farm house after feeding his cattle.