As you may have read elsewhere on this website, we didn’t attend the Northchapel steam rally with Victoria in August. This was due to the bad weather for the long journey, so we decided against getting Victoria and the drivers wet.
On the Sunday, as the weather had cheered up, we decided to jump in the car and take a look at what we had missed. As we pulled into the car park we could see the rally, we were amazed at the field which the rally was on. It was on a steep slope, and although the field was large things seemed to be tight on space in places. The event is advertised as a steam rally and in previous years it has been well attended by steam engines, however, this year we could only see three full sized engines and a Foden lorry. The engines had very limited parking and camping space and were pushed up against the hedge. We watched as an engine struggled to park back in its space between two rollers.
There were a lot of other exhibits including a good selection of tractors, military vehicles and commercial vehicles. As always with a rally there were plenty of classic cars, offering a variety of different models. Motorbikes and stationary engines where also well attended. A nice touch were the helicopter rides which took you over the rally field and allowed you a birds eye view of the site.
All the daily arena events were going on, though having the steamers in the arena at midday on Saturday and 10.30am on Sunday is somewhat ambitious and it would have been better to have them in just after lunch time. This would give the engine drivers plenty of time to get their engines in steam and polished. Lets face it, when have you seen an engineman up and ready to roll at 10.30 on a Sunday morning, especially after a Saturday on a rally field?
We also wondered why the front of the programme is decorated with an American engine when there are so many lovely engines on this side of the water?
All in all we were disappointed to have missed the weekend away with Victoria so here’s hoping that next year maybe the organisers will be able to change the site back to the previous field across the road and that the weather will be kinder.