2021 marked the County of Salop Steam Engine Society turning 60 and what a remarkable 60 years it’s been. We couldn’t let this big occasion pass without celebrating in a suitable fashion. So we put our glad rags on, well, boots and overalls and held a small celebration for our members and of course their spectacular exhibits.
Having sadly made the difficult decision earlier in the year, as a Society, to cancel the 2021 Shrewsbury Steam Rally, we didn’t want to let the year pass without being able to celebrate our Society’s 60th anniversary. So as time passed and the restrictions were gradually being eased, we were at least able to put together a small celebration for our members, which included multiple road runs for a comparatively small selection of exhibits that would normally be at Onslow Park for the Rally.
As mentioned, the main activity for the usual August Bank Holiday weekend was going to be road runs. After the period through lockdown of seeing very little steam and heritage activity, there was no shortage of enthusiastic exhibit owners, all very keen to get back out on the roads. And with the weekend’s weather forecast looking very promising indeed, the recipe for a great weekend was looking complete.
Saturday’s runs saw well-dispersed convoys heading off in different directions; steam engines headed for Kinnerley as their lunchtime destination (17m), commercial vehicles ascended the Horseshoe Pass to the Ponderosa Cafe (60m), the tractors completed a lap extending almost out to Baschurch (13m), the vintage cars ventured as far as circumnavigating Lake Vyrnwy (77m) and the military vehicles headed for a lunch break at the Moor Farm Shop, Baschurch (17m).
With all the days road runs safely back on-site, the members were able to relax with the evening’s entertainment and hog roast, and the inevitable catch-up over a pint, and boy was there some catching up to do!
Sunday’s runs were met with equally as much enthusiasm. The steam vehicles had a lunchtime stop planned at Slepe Airfield (23m), while the commercial vehicles headed for a lunchtime break at the Midway Truck Stop, Prees Heath (38m). The cars took their turn of visiting the Ponderosa Cafe (62m) and the tractors took in lap via Shrawardine, Wilcott and Little Ness (11m).
In total, that’s over 300 road run miles during the course of the weekend, plus many of the owners drove their exhibits to and from the celebration. So hopefully you were lucky enough to spot some of your favourite exhibits out on the roads of Shropshire bringing back some of the Shrewsbury Steam Rally magic.
Huge thanks go to the small army that organised this event at reasonably short notice, not that it in any way showed in the final result. Also a big thank you to the exhibit owners for their efforts in getting their vehicles to the event and taking part in such an enthusiastic manner.
Our fingers are now firmly crossed, and all being well, we hope to see everybody back at Onslow Park in 2022.