Our hedge contained lots of very small stems and with all the suckers incredibly wide, and bordered a very old hedge / row of trees, and behind (and sometimes in) the hedge were the remains of some hay bales. There were even a few sections which looked more like lakes.
Our seven plucky trainees volunteered to take on a cant each. At least one commented that he had not realised that it was a competition and would have spent more time in the shed sharpening his billhook :-) We explained the format of the day and off they went.
The more experienced cutters kicked off with an even more variable length of hedge, some of it pretty thin.
No sooner had we started than it was Bacon roll and tea time provided by the landowner and his family. Thus with a full belly we returned to the hedge, and I noticed Frank had been allocated the pond section, but he wasn’t grumbling (much).
What seemed like a simple hedge took a lot of time to clear out behind and above, it was at that point we realised how little material we had to play with.
Our judges for the day were Dick Foulgar and Des Whittington two very experienced layers who decided to keep everyone on their toes not just the trainees.
All too soon it was lunch time and we settled down to sausages and jacket potatoes. We need to have more events which include food.
As the experts finished off their stakes and binders Des and Dick appeared and asked everyone to critique their own section, by standing back and taking a critical look. This was very useful as a few moments of an expert eye can improve your skills hugely.
The bonus being that the experts were also judged, with the results as follows
3rd Phill Piddell - “Made the best of available hedge”
2nd Darren Hulbert - “General appearance needs attention”
1st David Dunk - “Consistent workmanship, best of a poor cant”
All other competitors “made a good job of available hedge”
At this point I had time to inspect all the other sections, Frank had put a gentle curve in his section around his lake.
The trainees were doing really well, and finished not long after everyone else and within the available time.
The judges only managed to separate the trainees by 10 points, which was superb. The final results were as follows:
3rd Grace Clements (and best work on a poor length)
2nd Marcus Broome
1st Roberto Grilli
All in all a great dry day and some really good hedge laying, which the landowner was very happy with.
Pictures as always here