THE glorious sunshine brought steam enthusiasts from far and wide to take in the smells, sights and sounds of this year’s Cumbria Steam Gathering.
Thousands of people flocked to the 36th show to view an array of shining beasts on Cark Airfield, Flookburgh, last weekend, from vintage steam rollers, Showmans and traction engines to classic
cars, motorcycles and nostalgic bicycles to lovingly restored tractors.
One of the highlights of the show was the arena display area, where proud owners paraded their vintage treasures in front of the crowds.
Among the drumming engines and billowing clouds of smoke was Martha – the Lake District’s Sentinel steam bus dating back to 1932.
The glittering red vehicle was transformed from a wagon into a bus in 2004 and now runs as one of only two steam buses with an operator’s licence in England.
Rows of gleaming tractors attracted admiring glances, including a 50-year-old Massey Ferguson model that had been restored to its former glory by a duo team from Millom.
Peter Newton bought the tractor from Chelmsford, Essex, in March this year and, with the help of his close friend 57-year old Ted Jopson, he gave it a new life.
“We only finished it last night,” said the 55-year-old on Saturday. “We’ve been working every night and weekend for the past three months.
“We’ve tried to put it back to as original state as possible. The top of the bonnet is the original one and we’ve put the batteries on the side where they belong.”
He added: “I’ve always been interested in tractors and I always come to these shows. I think if you do these things up and they look nice, then they’re there for the younger generation.”
Mr Newton hopes to return next year with another restored tractor. “Ted’s got a Fordson Major that his dad bought brand new in 1955. We want to get that one up and running.”
Furness British Motorcycle Club displayed a collection of classic motorcycles, including Triumphs ranging from 1946 to 2007 and a BSA 500 - an old military desert bike from 1942.
The event, hosted by Cumbria Steam and Vintage Vehicle Society, provided much entertainment, with circus workshops, a Punch and Judy show, remote controlled car racing, fairground rides and kite
There was also a variety of demonstrations, including traditional blacksmith skills, ploughing, cultivating and forestry and wood sawing and, for the more adventurous, there was the opportunity to
soar the skies in a helicopter or climb aboard a traction engine.
Music weaved its way through the sound of the puffing steam and beating engines, with fairground organs singing from every corner, a striking steel drum performance from Stockport’s Pantonic All
Stars Steel Orchestra and an impressive parade by the City of Coventry Corps Drums.
Organiser Tim Holt said: “My enthusiasm for this wonderful event has never waned, even after all these years. After last year’s downpours I ordered some better weather!”
He added: “We try to put something on which will suit somebody, whether they’re nine years old or 90 years old.”
The event also offered a unique agricultural tractor training course teaching children between the ages of 13 and 16 how to drive, operate and maintain agricultural tractors over two days.
“You’ve never seen happier faces than on those children,” said Mr Holt. “Some of the lads have never driven a tractor before and then they come away with a certificate.”
To book a place on the course at next year’s event, contact Tim Holt on 015242-71584.