GIANTS of a bygone age rolled into South Lakeland for the 42nd Cumbria Steam Gathering at the weekend.

And it was full steam ahead for the thousands of visitors who travelled to Flookburgh airfield for the historic event.

Around 25,000 people turned out for the celebration of vintage vehicles, which brought together 1,300 exhibitors from as far away as Devon and Gloucester.

Visitors to the two-day event were treated to displays of gleaming steam engines, commercial vehicles, military vehicles, machinery and lovingly-collected model engines – and for the first time in its history the event also attracted the national Ford and Fordson Association, which displayed its tractors and performed parades for excited onlookers.


“It was a great weekend,” said event treasurer David Foster. “It was great to have the Ford and Fordson Association here – we think it is the furthest north they’ve been.

“When the event first began we had a few hundred exhibitors and now we have about 1,300 so there really is a lot for people to see and that was clear this weekend.”

The colourful event was visited by both families and steam enthusiasts alike, with the smell of soot providing the backdrop to a ‘quintessentially Cumbrian weekend’.

As well as magic shows, miniature remote-controlled car racing, a traditional fairground and craft exhibition, the show also hosted a food hall for only the second year, with Cumbrian produce proving a hit.

Visitor numbers also rose from last year, which has been put down to Saturday’s scorching weather.

“We think numbers are up this year,” continued Mr Foster.

“The hot weather certainly helped us. Visitors know there are going to be good, dry car parks and they won’t be wading through mud – and that definitely makes a difference!”

The event, which began in Kendal, moved to Flookburgh in 1986 and has continued to grow every year.

“We’ll be back next year. The dates are in the diary,” added Mr Foster. “Although I’m not ready to think about it just yet!”