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Ploughing match to mark Cregneash opening day 26 March 2009

An exciting horse ploughing match will mark the opening of The National Folk Museum at Cregneash for the summer season 2009, beginning at 10am and continuing until mid-afternoon on Saturday 4th April.

Horse ploughing at The National Folk Museum at Cregneash.Ploughing matches were first promoted by the Society for Agriculture in the early 1800s and were great occasions where the turn-out of man and horse was just as important as the quality of the ploughing. Today matches are still held throughout the Island and provide the perfect opportunity to see highly skilled ploughmen and women pitting their wits against one another to plough the best butt.

This match will be the last in the highly competitive 2008-2009 winter ploughing season. Over the winter months, the horse ploughmen and women have been competing against each other, working hard, honing their skills and keeping their horses in tip-top condition. After a tough season, each ploughman and woman now knows how to get the best out of their horses and ploughs. Competitors practice for the horse ploughing match.

Pete Kelly, Farm Manager at The National Folk Museum at Cregneash commented:

“During a ploughing match, skilled competitors endeavour to turn over the soil in preparation for the year’s crops. This is not as simple as it sounds, with even the smallest of errors completely ruining a competitor’s chances of victory.”

Andrew Metcalfe, Cregneash Site Manager gave some historical background:

“In the days when all ploughing was done by horse you had to go at its pace and no faster. If you could measure a field correctly, plough straight with these measurements and leave a tidy job that made all subsequent work easier to do – and this could make a big difference to a farm’s future survival. The ploughing match was a social occasion where competitors had the chance to show off their skills and impress their neighbours. And of course, horse ploughing was an important part of food production.”

To find out more come along to The National Folk Museum at Cregneash on Saturday 4th April, from 10am to 5pm, where there will be a chance to see history come alive with a fascinating ploughing match!Newborn lambs at Cregneash.A Loghtan lamb at Cregneash.

Also this spring, Manx National Heritage welcomes everyone to come along and see the newborn Loghtan lambs at Cregneash. Manx Loghtan sheep are indigenous to the Island - the name ‘Loghtan’ could have derived from the two Manx words, lugh (‘mouse’) and dhoan (‘brown’) which together indicate the unusual brown colour of the fleece. The first lambs are due to be born this week and a visit to Cregneash to see them would make a great day out over the Easter school holidays!

The National Folk Museum at Cregneash will be open daily for the whole summer season, 4th April until 31st October 2009. Further details on forthcoming events at the Manx National Heritage sites are detailed on www.storyofmann.com or in the Manx National Heritage What’s On leaflet, available now at all Story of Mann attractions.

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