If you’re a regular reader of the blog, you’ll know I adore steam engines and British Summertime events. In short, you’ll find me anywhere where there’s the smell of coal smoke on a sunny day, where I can stand with an ice cream or brew, marvelling over and admiring or chatting about a variety of mechanical geekery from times past.
Yesterday (Saturday 22nd June 2019) I found the best event I’ve been to for such stuff, right on the Derbyshire-Leicestershire border – Ashby Steam, this year continuing in it’s new home at Boundary, not far out of Swadlincote.
I rode out early and the three hour ride was well worth it – as was the £5 entry fee. It reminded me of the also excellent Barton Gate steam fair, but seemed bigger with a busier atmosphere.
There were steam engines of course – of every variety: traction, showmans, road rollers, lorries and miniatures. There were stationary engines for the diesel strokers and petrolheads. Vintage and classic motorbikes, cars and one of the largest displays of tractors I’ve ever seen in my life.
But not just that: a very good range of food, a beer tent, fairground rides, a busy arena, models, tool and ephemera stalls, even a remote controlled tractor demo (I’m not kidding) – and friendly alpacas too.
The highlight for me was all the vehicles pulling into line to parade out – Sadly I couldn’t stay for the actual parade, but will hopefully be there for it next year. At 4pm, all whistles were blown in unison. By that time I was on my way to Staunton Harold and could hear the beautiful cacophony of it.
But of course, what made this friendly show so great was the British weather which was sunny and hot, and the range of characters and their dogs. I’ve always adored such events for people watching and it was a cracker for that.
I shall definitely be back and I suggest you check it out next year, too. You can check out the Ashby Steam website here, and I note Barton Gate is this year on the weekend of the 20th and 21st July 2019. If you’ve not been to a steam rally before that one’s a real cracker too.