There was a colourful display of tractors in action on a Tynedale farm for this year’s annual ploughing competition – an event which is steeped in history.

Today, the event is organised by the Northern Counties Ploughing Association, and took place at Beaufront Red House Farm last month.

But turn the clock back and the region had a very different make up, with most areas having their own ploughing society.

The association’s secretary, Reg Wilkinson, explained: “We are a conglomeration of several societies from the North-East of England, like Ryton and Greenside, Boldon and Hexham.

“I think 1887 were the first records and it was all eventually brought together. A lot of the areas where there were ploughing matches are all built up now, like Whickham and Ryton.”

Of course, in the 19th century, the ploughs were drawn by horses, but all this started to change in the early years of the 20th century.

“In the old minutes there is an interesting discussion around 1914 where they were talking about whether to allow a demonstration of a tractor,” said Reg.

The answer was a definite yes and the International Junior which took part paved the way for the future shape of the matches.

Today, the competition gives the opportunity to see some of these old tractors in action and there is a pre-1958 class for the vintage models. Some early 1940s Fordsons could be seen at Beaufront Red House Farm this year.

Reg said many of the entrants tended to come from Cumbria, Berwickshire and Dumfriesshire. One of this year’s three overall winners came from Coupar Angus.

Numbers were down this year and Reg put this down to the difficult harvest.

“It was because of the weather, other things being on and arable farming being behind,” he said.

“People come and they stay the night in a hotel and spend a bit of money at the bar.

“There is no prize money, it’s just for the crack and the chat and meeting a lot of like-minded people.”