Wiston 13th and 14th July 2019

by Steve Rowland

I am pleased to say that on the 13 and 14th July I attended the annual Wiston Steam Rally. The rally was held in the usual field that is very large and lays out in front of you as you arrive through the exhibitors entrance. The SEAMS pen, was at the lower end of the field as before so you have to pass all the miniature steam to your left, followed by full size steam, the fairground sitting at the bottom left corner of the field and the line up of tractors and farm equipment that stretches across the field that more or less separates us from the many varied stalls and tented exhibits.

The layout works which does ensure we have a flat area for our engines, where we have been half way up the hill in the past that gives issues having to chock everything up level. Talking to others while I was there, it was mentioned that some other rallies, where people get used to seeing the same year after year, they have changed their layout and the perception to the public is that it’s a whole new Rally. Food for thought!

It was a good couple of day’s weather wise, just with a few spots of rain early Saturday. The layout SEAMS had was two pens that were separated

with a walk way down the middle. This was a good idea, in the fact that it allowed more exposed edges to exhibit along that one big pen using the total length and width supplied i.e. 2 pens have eight sides whereas one pen covering the same area only gives 4 sides of the same length. Where this fell down was when the engines are approx. 6 foot back from each rope, the distance between the exhibitors sitting behind you got a bit close. Something we can learn from for next time, when we seek the size of allocated space from the organisers. That aside, all of us Engine men got on with it and it worked very well.

It was mainly SEAMS members in the pens, with a few independent entrants with some interesting exhibits. One thing that was a shame was one exhibit that took the word “stationary” to the limit. I could only describe it as a collection of Lister items spread in one corner of the pen. Personally I did not see anybody with it, bring it or take it away all weekend, but I am sure they were somewhere, but in my opinion, not really what we want in an engine pen where a running engine would have been more appropriate.

We must all thank Ian again for being the go between for SEAMS and the organisers and getting to the event before hand to set the stakes and ropes out. Also good to see Pippa Sampson out after her nasty fall and we wish that all her bones heal and she has a speedy recovery to get back to normal.