This year’s 45th Great Dorset Steam Fair will surely go down as one of the best years in the shows long history. For the first time Road Rollers took centre stage, this being the years special theme
The Road Roller Association had laid on a marquee stuffed full of rare and interesting rollers including an Aveling that had just returned from Barbados and is yet to be identified. Also inside the tent were two Taskers from the Hampshire Museum Services Collection and the Goake’s families enormous 15ton Aveling. It wasn’t the biggest roller in the tent though, that honour went to Richie Flack’s 16ton Marshall in unrestored condition.
On the Saturday of the show a new record was set with 102 rollers passing over a length of newly rolled road, a fitting way to mark what will probably always be the greatest gathering of rollers ever assembled.
Up on the Showman’s lines business continued as normal with plenty of engines generating light late into the night. Foster Showman’s ‘Endeavour’ which was still being painted on the Tuesday preceding the show returned after a whirlwind rebuild which saw it rebuilt from completely disassembled state and painted within 8 weeks.
Wandering along the line though one engine stood out. A McLaren Showman’s called ‘Gigantic’, this was a bit of red herring as the engine was in fact’Boadicea’ which has had a temporary conversion to showman’s specification with the addition of ‘Gigantic’s’ name plate to add to the confusion. It’s not permanent and the engine will go back to being a Road Loco
As ever the playpen was full of all sizes of engine moving heavy loads and wizzing up and down the hill. ‘Boadicea’ made a strange sight in here during the daytime hauling to big loads in showman’s form with the other Road Locomotives
This year’s Great Dorset Steam Fair is going to take some beating