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© Steam Plough Club 2018

Steam Plough Club, Pant-y-Cae, Clyro, Herefordshire HR3 6JU


Against all the weather predictions the club had a dry and successful Hands On weekend during 19/20 August 2017.  Fourteen participants and as many club helpers gathered together at Beaumont Chase Farm near Uppingham in Rutland, home of host, Joe and Mary Nourish.

Three sets of tackle were operated, Brian Knight’s BB1s 15451/2 Victory and Dreadnought, Michael Davies and Peter Wilson’s BB1s 15182/3 Achilles and Ajax, Rob Jameson’s AA7 15257 Repulse together with Howard Bolton’s BB1 15337.  These worked with a six-furrow plough owned by Michael Davies, a four-furrow plough on loan to the Steam Plough Club and an 11/13 cultivator belonging to Brian Knight.

Following introductions and a safety talk the participants were organised into groups and allocated to sets.  Soon the engines were lit and put into steam under the careful eye of the instructors.  The field was about a quarter of a mile away from the yard so this gave the students an opportunity of a short drive or steering on the road and then manoeuvring into position with the implements and roping up.

As part of the course participants had been provided with the club’s new DVD “Introduction to Two Engine Cable Cultivation”.  This was well received and gave them a good start as what to expect.

Joe had had a busy week of preparation of land, water bowsers and coal.  The field was nearly square and nearly flat though uphill with a reasonable pull; ideal for our use.  Soon the first furrows were turned and the work was under way.  Because of their position in the yard Ajax and Achilles were slow to steam.  This was all right as they were put to work on the cultivator after some ploughing had been done.  Lunch was provided as part of the day and this was soon over.

After a short time it was clear that the participants could play a full part at the regulator and implements and an impressive amount of work was done by the end of the day.  A feature of these events is the Saturday night dinner in a local pub where those present could relax and relate to events of the day.  We were fortunate to have a room to ourselves which was much appreciated as well as the good food.

Sunday continued as before with our students gaining good experience.  We had two from Belgium and Holland. Gijs Koolen has very recently bought Fowler K7 number 14695 from John Boyling in Cornwall, collected it last month, and this will be stabled here in the UK where Gijs is studying. Noach and his son Ruben plan to help him with working demonstrations.  To make room at the Hands On Noach was promoted to instructor and Ruben, 17, soon proved very adept despite this being his first time on the footplate.

All too soon the weekend was over and it was time to thank our hosts, Joe and Mary Nourish, who had been so kind to us, engine owners and crews and all the club helpers.  And not least of course, our participants.  In a closing vote of thanks a participant exclaimed, “This is the best weekend I have ever had!”.

Our chairman, Mark Jones, has said that the Hands On is one of the most important things the club does for its members. If the demand continues it is hoped to repeat the Hands On in the future.

John Billard

The next Hands On Weekend will be held in Rutland on  1 & 2 September 2018

 Please contact John Billard for news of further details.

The DVD is available from Richard Playdon for members at £10 including p & p. See sales page for details.

Hands on weekend 2017 Hands on weekend 2017