Tuesday, 27 October 2015

The Nationals 2015

This year's Nationals were held at Chew Valley Lakes, Stoke Hill, Bristol. 

In complete contrast to the recent weather it rained all day, or at least for the whole time we were cutting, and as a result I took very few photos. However, here are a few shots of the day.

This is a shot up the hedge line before the off. unusually the cants were pre-drawn with the SoE Vets nearest the camera, then the SoE Open extending almost to the corner at the far end of the field. Along the far side were the various Midland classes.

This is my cant, second from the end, well third really as we had a 'no-show'. Almost entirely Hawthorn with a couple of self seeded rose and some bramble. The front and back had been mown off, and presumably the stock fence removed, so there was little clearing out to do. There was little of any size in our section, with only a few stems over three inches but much of it was multi-stemmed from ground level and being under the pines it had grown very much to one side.

It started to drizzle before the off and heavy showers passed through on a regular basis making for a very wet session. Being rather warm it was impossible to work in a coat so most cutters just got wet. I find the worst thing is wet gloves, and so I wore a gripper glove on my right hand, which gave a good purchase on the hand tools but was in no way thorn proof - my hand still bears the evidence of this.

This is my finished cant. Not too bad but notice my silly mistake - last week at the Hampshire competition we had laid to three and a half feet and I did the same here. I realised my error before banging in the stakes and lifted the binders but you can see that  the top of the hedge is rather low, leaving a bit of a gap under the binders - did the judges notice?

Looking back up the finished cants we have Clive nearest the camera, then mine and then Dave and Frank, there being only four of us (plus the one no-show).

I manged second slot behind Dave's winning hedge seen below. Nicely done with a thick even build.

And here is a picture (by Jackie Gilligan) of a very happy Paul having won the SoE Open AND Supreme Champion. I think this is only the second time a SoE cutter has won Supreme and it has been many years since the first. Well done Paul.

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