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GALLERY: Cumbria Steam Gathering attracts 25,000 to Flookburgh
4:15pm Monday 30th July 2012 in News
IT was full steam ahead for thousands of visitors to one of South Lakeland’s most historic events at the weekend.
The ever-popular Cumbria Steam Gathering, the largest of its kind in northern England, celebrated its Ruby anniversary at Cark Airfield.
A collection of around 1,200 vintage vehicles, nostalgic engines, classic cars and agricultural and industrial machines delighted crowds, while the more competitive indulged in a contest of lawnmower racing.
And a special 40th birthday brew, produced by Ulverston Brewing Company, was a hit with real ale fans.
First-time visitor Gwen Paton, 73, of Grange-over-Sands, said: “I thought ‘I must come along and see what it’s all about’ and I’m absolutely amazed at the atmosphere and the friendliness of everybody.”
The history of the gathering dates back to 1974, when a small group of steam engine enthusiasts met informally in a tin shed near Penrith.
An official Cumbria Steam and Vintage Vehicle Society eventually formed as numbers grew and, today, 300 members organise the event.
Black, grey and white shades of smoke from hundreds of striking engines wafted across the airfield to create a dramatic atmosphere, while an old-fashioned organ kept spirits high during frequent downpours.
Children’s entertainment, trade stands, food and a traditional fair were also on offer.
Christopher Hall, of County Durham, exhibited his 15-year-old minature engine, Lady Jean, which he bought and restored six years ago.
The 20-year-old life-long steam engine fan said he enjoyed the tone of the gathering.
“The social side of it is brilliant,” he said.
“Sometimes you can go to shows and they won’t be very good but you get good feedback here.”
For 63-year-old David Lomas, of New Mills, Derbyshire, it was not the first time he had visited Flookburgh with fellow enthusiasts.
“I’ve been coming for ten years,” said Mr Lomas, who proudly showed off his 1924 eight-tonne steam roller, Early Riser.
“There’s always a lot of everything; engines, good stalls, good entertainment, it’s just a good all-round show and the atmosphere is great.”
Organiser Tim Holt said about 25,000 people passed through the gates.
“There was a good crowd on both Saturday and Sunday,” said Mr Holt.
“We had to change the field around a bit because of the huge areas of water.
“Taking everything into consideration, the weather being the biggest, it was a great success.”
Meanwhile, police are hunting thieves who stole life-saving equipment from an ambulance at the event.
A green medical rucksack containing an oxygen cylinder, a defibrillator and a suction unit was taken on Saturday morning.
Contact Cumbria Police on 101 with information.