03 September 2007

Elvaston Steam Rally.

Back at the beginning of July, I’d planned on going to the Elvaston Steam Rally, held in the grounds of Elvaston Castle, but the terrible weather we had during the early summer meant that the event had to be cancelled due to the ground conditions. This past weekend saw the rescheduled rally take place.

As the showground isn’t too far from home, just over half an hour's walk, we left the car in the garage on Sunday morning and headed off to Elvaston Castle under a clear blue sky and with the temperature creeping up towards the mid 60s. After a brief stop to chat to some friends as we passed their home, we arrived on the showground at just after 9:45AM.

The first thing that struck me was the amount of waterlogged areas that had had to be roped off from the public. Even though it is now almost two months since the worst of the rain the field was still holding water in places. We can only hope that September will see a better end to the summer than the start!

The second bit of a shock was bumping into an old friend that I’d not seen in over 20 years - it turned out that Helen, one of the old gang from back in my motorbike days, was helping out with a falconry display at the show. In the end, helping out actually meant flying the birds of prey during all the displays so we only managed to have a brief catch up.

After spending a little time admiring the falcons and owls Lynda and I headed off in search of the steam engines. There were around 16 or 18 rollers and traction engines on display plus a large number of fully working miniature replicas. To see the old engines in full steam and moving around the ground is a great experience but the work that goes into the miniatures is also quite amazing. I’d certainly like to own one of each… if it wasn’t for the cost!

As well as the steam driven vehicles, there was also a good turn out of vintage tractors and heavy goods vehicles. A number of the tractors could quite easily find a home with me but it was the Allis Chalmers from the mid 1930s that really caught my eye - it was superb. There were also two or three very nice Massey Ferguson MF35s - great little workers from back in the ‘50s.

With so many old vehicles on show, it would have been hard to pick a favourite from the day, if it had not been for an Albion Chieftain lorry that we saw. Not only was it a very well kept and well presented vehicle it also brought many memories of my childhood flooding back.

As a young boy, growing up on the farm, I used to spend much of the summer riding in the cab of an Albion Chieftain that my Grandfather used to transport bales of hay and straw from the fields up to the barns. The only thing different between the two lorries was the colour. Everything else was just as I remembered it… all the switch panels were the same, the door handles and sliding windows, the double-hinged mirrors, even the way the front windscreen could open forwards. It was just like being a kid again!

After watching the steam engines, miniature engines and classic cars parade in the main show ring we watched the second of the falconry displays before deciding to head back for home. The weather forecast had been for possible rain late in the afternoon so we wanted to get back home before it set in - we didn’t make it! Luckily, it was only a light shower that caught us and it only lasted for around 10 minutes. As we started the walk for home, the rain stopped again and we had a nice steady walk back followed by a very welcome cup of tea. All in all, not a bad day!

There are more photos from the rally HERE!

1 comment:

  1. I love looking at all those old machines. I think maybe you should get a miniature and restore it. You could work on it with your father little bit at a time. Loved the bird pics too. The owl was beautiful. Thanks for sharing your pictures.

    xx Me again :o)