So after the longest of waits harvest 2021 is nearly complete here in the soggy North West and with it came its many stresses. However, I find none as stressful as trying to move the combine down the road.
We are very lucky that most of our fields are very close to home and we can get by with minimum road usage, although one day a season we go contracting for my uncle. He is predominately a veg grower but has barley within his rotation.
Growing crops such as sprouts and cauliflowers, he often splits up bigger fields into smaller sections, utilising fields to grow a variety of crops. On this one day a year we spend a lot of time moving the combine and header between small sections on narrow country roads.
I would love to know what you believe the best escort vehicle is and I may just have the answer for you.
It is not the carter leading, in our case anyway, as quite often when we try this technique I can have hazards, beacons and the horn blaring but oncoming traffic seem blind to this - the driver is usually turning to their passenger saying ‘did you see that girl driving that big tractor', and sail straight past me to meet my dad on the combine.
We have also tried my sister driving her little Vauxhall Corsa in the middle of the road with hazards on, waving her ice cream out of the window trying to direct traffic. It's safe to say this had limited success after my sister tried to do a rude hand gesture at a diver and sadly dropped her ice cream down her car door.
Believe it or not, the best escort vehicle fo us was our very fool hardy great grandfather driving his gator in the middle of the road with the slowest beacon on top you have ever seen.
Now I know what you are thinking: how did this work when the Corsa didn't. Well, my grandad, who was very short in stature, had his rejected police German Shepherd dog sat next to him and my grandad's lack of height only made his dog look even bigger and more menacing.
It's safe to say no driver or cyclist was ever going to go against this incredible team.
So my advice for escorting a combine, find yourself a grumpy old bloke, a gator and a massive dog.
Sadly, my grandad is no longer with us and was greatly missed this harvest. He always made sure he was on hand to help any way he could and was one of the first people to believe in me entering this industry.