As the Princess and the Duchess passed gracefully by, sunlight reflecting from their perfectly preserved bodies, they flattened the grass beneath their vast weight and belched dark smoke from their tall stacks. Their compound engines hissed and putted as steam escaped through various valves. Other engines followed them around the show ground, the engineers and drivers working at the wheels and levers, smiles beaming from the faces of their passengers. The air was filled with of a heady mixture of oil, coal dust and steam while the easily recognisable sound of traditional fairground music provided the soundtrack.
We’d joined the Wildcamping forum for their annual camp at the Ram public house in Brandon, timed to coincide with the Weeting steam rally and country fayre. The rally attracts many steam powered vehicles, but also other vintage vehicles, tractors and military vehicles. We spent the day watching various demonstrations from the age of steam, the engines being put to an array of uses, including stone breaking, forestry work and ploughing. More steam engines ran generators which powered the fairground rides, while a steam powered bus ferried visitors around the large site. At the edge of the event a couple of Shire horses looked on at the technology that replaced them.