Sunday, 29 May 2016

Ashley Hall Steam Rally

The weather could not have been better. I went on the little 'Innova' and on arrival avoided the car park (in a field next to the rally field) and parked among the engines.

I sampled a pint from the beer pump on traction engine Maud Foster (can you see it on the pictures?) - 'Storm' ale from Congleton - lovely. Thanks James!
And on passing the commentary box as the engines entered the arena, James jumped down from the footplate of 'Maud' to pull a pint for the commentator. Style!
Despite me having a pint of 'Storm' with Maud's crew, my little Honda Innova, on passing the Bird in Hand at Knoll's Green in lovely sunshine on the way home, just swerved into the car park. No idea why it did that, but it seemed the ideal opportunity to have a pint of superb Sam Smiths. Sitting outside of course.

Please click on any picture for a larger image.

'Little Mac' from Congleton. I was driving home from Barton to Congleton (where we lived then) one August evening in 1978 having just flown my first solo flight on my way to my licence, when on the long straight just south of the Davenport Arms at Marton, I met Little Mac heading the other way for the Astle Park rally. Still being on cloud nine after my first solo,I flashed my lights and tooted at the sight of this tough little engine steaming hard, and Little Mac responded with enthusiastic whistling! 

These engines don't keep themselves gleaming. Elbow grease and Brasso do the job!

A lovely showmans' engine. Generator on the front to power the fairground rides, extension chimney on the roof to carry the smoke away when running at the fairground.

Vanguard of Lymm. These guys are quite active on Facebook.

The Innova finds a resting place near the engines

A nice 'miniature', ever popular at rallys

This ploughing engine had badly worn gears and was a tad noisy as a result. A pair of these would position themselves each end of a field and pull the plough back and forth with their underslung winches.

Apparently there's quite a following of vintage tractors in Cheshire

Miniature ploughing engine

Steam engines of all types usually have a 'total loss' lubrication system, so frequent 'oiling round' of anything that moves is important

Maud Foster's flight deck

'Storm Brewery' bitter for Maud's crew - excellent

James sets off on Maud, beer and pump now on board, for the show arena

Why 'Maud Foster'? Apparently there used to be a area north west of Boston, Lincs, that was marsh, and local woman Maud Foster paid for it to be drained to form good agricultural land. The drain (a wide channel) was named Maud Foster Drain. A local windmill carries the same name, and when the railway came, the station and signal box were named Maud Foster.

A local farmer had several steam traction engines and when he retired he put them up for auction. A scrap merchant bought them, but the retired farmer wasn't happy to see them scrapped so he bought them back, and parked them in a field hoping someone, one day, would want them.

This one was bought by a fireman on the railway and he restored it. The farmer said "now you've restored it, it'll need a name. How about 'Maud Foster?"

Lovely story. If it's not true, it should be.

Plenty of rollers attending the rally, too

That lovely showmans' engine again

Maud halts while James dismounts to pull a pint.....

.....For the commentator 

James on Maud

Nice, relaxed, way to travel...

....This guy looks a little less at peace with the world

A rare and strange BSA tricycle

Hailwood TT replica on the end of a line up of interesting bikes


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