Welland steam rally.
26th - 27th July. 2003.
The last Welland steam rally we did was back in 2001, on what was probably the hottest weekend of the year. This year, although still warm, had the misfortune of rain.
Now rain is
all well and good, but mix rain, traction engines and a few
thousand people and you get mud. The tractors coped quite
well with it, but the Showman's engines just didn't have the
traction ( hmm - and they're called "traction engines"
too ) and had to be unceremoniously dragged across the
field. Us Moonshiners, being well equipped, ( stop that
tittering ) had bought along our wellies. OK, so we didn't
exactly look fashionable wearing T-shirts and wellies, but at
least we coped with the mud.
Most of Saturday afternoon was spent wandering around the various stalls & shops that had sprung up. Of course it just had to rain. This meant most of the goods displayed outside were either covered over or hastily dragged indoors. Despite this we still managed to buy various useful looking objects - mainly tools and the like. Why is it bikers can never have enough tools ?
I must confess, the rain got the better of me by about half past ten of the evening and I headed back to the "dog kennel" and cooked my supper. Maybe tomorrow will be better ?
Tomorrow came, and was indeed better. The sun was
out, we had a whole field to ourselves and things were looking
Apart from the weather, one of the reasons more Moonshiners didn't attend this rally was the cost. The official camping price for the weekend was advertised as £ 10 per night, plus £ 6 entrance to the rally itself, making a total of £ 16 per night, also, the small print was very vague about whether the minimum booking was for two nights. Now £ 32 for a night's camping is ridiculous, and that's being polite. Fortunately, the local campsite owners were not quite as greedy as the company who were administering the "official" campsite, and charged a more realistic £ 4 - 50 per night.
fed, we wandered back over to the main event. The mud was
still making its presence felt, but was rapidly fighting a losing
battle with the sunshine.
The sight of a good old fashioned fairground set against the backdrop of the Malvern Hills makes this event just that little bit special. OK - so some of the planned events didn't take place due to the mud, but most of the usual things went ahead as normal. The display of military vehicles, which ended with an unfortunate car getting squashed by a Sherman tank went down a treat. . . . . . now if I could just make a Sherman trike.
The tractor owners just loved all this mud - what better excuse to demonstrate the benefits of those huge rear tyres ? The tractor pulling event suffered - those specially built monsters just couldn't get any grip. Still, as the day progressed, and the course dried out things did get better.
We carried on wandering around admiring all the weird and
wonderful machinery and partaking in the delights of eating ice
cream whilst listening to fairground organs. It doesn't
take much to keep us amused - a field full of vintage machinery
usually does the trick.
It's amazing how the time flies - before we knew it, it was mid afternoon and time to head back home. We had a few coffees whilst packing away then set off for a steady ride home. In a way, the mud added to the event, though I wouldn't like it to be a permanent feature.
The one thing that put a damper ( pun intended ) on the weekend was my trike failing on the way home. I say "failing" - it didn't leave me stranded or anything like that, but the gearbox has finally died, it keeps jumping out of top gear as soon as you put it under load. Ah well - it was a £ 40 second hand gearbox when I first built the thing, and that was 61 000 miles ago, so I reckon I've had my money's worth out of it. Looks like my week's holiday up North will be undertaken on two wheels as opposed to five. Never mind - I can fix the trike when I get back.