A delegation from SEHLS visited the Blackdown Hills competition
The rain was drumming down on the marque, as we waited for the draw to take place, it was another one of Gary Moore’s famous hedgelaying “clearing up showers” in action. Today he was right, and as we progressed with the hedge laying, the sun tried to break through making pleasant working conditions.
We were in the marquee waiting for our steward Dick Fouler, he was waiting on the hedge line in the rain with a mobile office & food for a week. Being well organised, Dick kept us fully informed of time through out the day.
We started cutting at 9 45 through to 3 30pm, this included 30 mins of extra time, which was very welcome.
Gary got his first side down only to realise he was only half way as it was a double comb hedge. He powered through hedge side number 2 and was rewarded with 3rd prize.
There was a plethora of South of England cutters taking part, with David Dunk, Gary Moore, Geoff Pit & Phil Hart in the Intermediate class, Russell Woodham & Nigel Adams were competing in the Open class. Spectators included South of England cutter Tony Gallows, with seasoned South of England supporters Julie & Phill Hallam appearing & cheered us up with a barrow full of good humoured banter.
For me it was a good mental workout transferring the cutting & hedge building skills to the Devon style, as I had missed the training sessions, a big thank you to David Dunk, Gary Moore, Russel Woodham & George Pigeon for imparting skills & knowledge to bring together a successful weekend. It was a challenge to be climbing up & down a 5 foot bank, especially when you left a tool in the fIeld and you were stood on top of bank or worse still the other side of the hedge / bank.
A big thank you to Mandy Woodham for a fantastic stew on Friday evening plus a delicious coffee & walnut cake. Thank you to Richard Hooker & the Blackdown Hills Hedgelaying Association for making us welcome, a fantastic event with over 100 cutters taking part, in 4 classes, Novice pairs, Novice, Intermediate, & Open class. We were in the Intermediate class of 17 cutters. Great food was provided from the WI, there was a good range of trade stands, I managed to get away without buying another axe, while Gary came home with a large succulent coffee & walnut cake which somehow managed to survive all they way back to Sussex without being sampled. For the moment food science will have to go without that piece of important research.
Results sheet in the photos.