Woodcote has been the venue of a steam rally for over 40 years and has always attracted a good selection of entries. The 2006 event was held on the weekend of the 8th and 9th of July and when we visited on the Sunday the weather started with rain but luckily improved about lunchtime enabling us to look around in the dry. The very nice programme listed 21 full sized engines, of which only one was not present. 2006 was also a special Sentinel event and there were 14 examples of this make on show, mainly of the later types, super, DG and S class. All were well presented but we were particularly impressed by the recently restored DG 6 painted in the livery of the Aberdeen Harbour Board.
Several working demonstrations kept the public interested including threshing using the famous Marshall “Old Timer”, once owned by the father of the steam engine movement Arthur Napper and a road making demonstration using several of the rollers on show.
Unfortunately this event has fallen foul of the health and safety brigade and though there was loads of room, engines were not allowed to move about without being surrounded by yellowjackets. This is a great shame as a rally with such a great history and pedigree as Woodcote should recognise that engine drivers do have common sense and are aware of the unpredictability of the general public.
The large field had good selections of tractors, stationary engines, cars and other vehicles and quite a large fair, the only thing was that everything was well spread out, the fair especially seemed a bit isolated.
To sum up, Woodcote was a well organised and well supported event with all the ingredients required for a first class rally, it just seemed to us to be missing that spark which would have made it special.