We had an idea that we were going to love the Steamfest weekend but it exceeded all expectations. Mark had us camped right in the thick of it as a living display. One of our first tasks was to write up some explanation sheets to leave on the bike and tent so we were free to check out some of the other action. We just had to decide where to go first as already our neighbours for the day were beginning to show up. There were displays of classic cars, bikes, tractors, machinery and special guests each day. On day one the Triumph TR owners club rolled in and displayed their cars next to us.
Early one morning we gravitated to the Traction engines to photo them before the public came in. I soon ‘lost’ Kev but he found me an hour later on the footboards of the Boon traction engine. I had befriended Bernard who had shown me the intricacies of his 100yr old engine and we had just built up enough steam for Bernard to steer her towards the hay threshing machine. Kev’s timing was perfect and he hopped on board for a ride on the wood basket.
Here we got a birds eye view of the old threshing machine and later got to see the bailer in action. Bernard’s traction engine can be seen in the first photo providing the power.
We watched some of the tractor pulling events, they drag a tank full of water which progressively slides closer to the front of the trailer it’s mounted to, this creates more drag to slow them up. Day one was very successful but on day two with a full load something in the mechanism broke. The driver saw the red flag waved and slammed on the anchors only to have water container nearly rear end her cab as it slid free of its moorings. Fortunately no one was hurt but it damaged the trailer so badly that it was the end of play for the big tractor pull for that day. They have a mini sled for ride on mower tractors too which could still continue. Some of the tractors have big V8′s fitted and some even have two V8′s hooked together. They were impressive to watch.
The bands were all good and a very diverse mix from Blues steel guitars to an eclectic mix of funk and pop.
I managed to find the juggler on Monday and was pleased to discover although I was very out of practice I still had it.
Everyone was so friendly and Jim from Hog Hill Silver made me a silver ring and adjusted Kev’s necklace so his pendant could hang more freely and he wouldn’t take anything from us. It was fasinating to watch the process.Jim is self taught and very talented, he also rides a Guzzi !
We even got a little taste of home with some scottish bagpipers that we followed in the parade lap, I made Bernard laugh when I said mind you don’t run them over, imagine the noise that would make.
Traction engines are incredibly powerful but in quite a gentle way, each day they rounded up hundreds of kids for a tug of war with one. We watched from the engine end, he was just playing with them really knocking it into reverse now and again to let them think they were getting somewhere. Even the army turned up to fire some mortar rounds and demonstrate an old anti aircraft gun.
In the true sprit of the event the bands during the afternoon performed on the back of a wagon and entertained the crowds.
We exited the showgrounds with big grins and good memories, waving goodbye we headed on to our next destination Hobart.