The Nationals were held near Grantham in Lincolnshire on a dry sunny Saturday. Having driven through very heavy rain on the way up on Friday I was expecting the site to be waterlogged but in fact the 'going was soft' rather than muddy.
The SoE section was alongside a farm track and opposite the Midland section, just a stones throw from the main event site. We were able to park in the field next to our cants, which is always a great help.
In the photo below, those cutting in the Open class were nearest the camera, with the Intermediate class starting in the distance. We veterans were lumped in with the Intermediates and in fact there was only one non-veteran in the class.
The cants were ten meters (eleven yards) for both classes, which was a bit of a surprise and the stakes and binders left something to be desired. However, we were all in the same boat and the hedge was even throughout with a few large stems in each cant, no difficult under-storey but very tangled at the top where it had been flailed repeatedly.
As usual the five hours flew by and it was a rush to get my bit finished, so no time for photos during laying. I could have done with another half hour to put some finishing touches but did get the basics finished. The build was OK but the stake line was rushed and could have been a lot better as it wandered out of the hedge-centre towards one end.
My cant is below with the Midland cutters across the track and the event marquees behind them.
I managed a third place in the Intermediates behind Dave and Lex and all in all I was happy with that as a fair result. Below is a shot of Dave's winning hedge.
The SoE Open class was won by Paul with this...
...and his very nice stake line.
This is a shot down the SoE section from Intermediates towards the Open class in the distance.
And for something different, this is Gary's cant in the Derby class.
Despite the length of the cants it was another great event as the Nationals always are. A nice meal at the hotel and a few drinks in the bar afterwards completed the day.
Oh, and Ian won the SoE regrowth prize - hurrah.