Saturday 23rd May
For the first day of the tour, a round trip of 69.5 miles to Wilton Windmill and Crofton Beam Engines was planned. Having given Basil Craske a sat-nav, we departed the hotel at around 10 o’clock. Then followed a route, skirting Salisbury and then over Salisbury Plain, where fantastic views could be seen for miles around, the beautiful weather aiding this considerably. At around the 15 mile point, a water stop was made at a Petrol station car wash, where the workers took great delight in posing with their pressure washing gear aimed at the cars, while the tanks were being filled.
The route then continued further over the plain, the evidence of the local military being clearly seen, with fantastic views for all to see. A stop was made for coffee at the Shears Inn at Collingbourne Ducis, where the crews were able to sit and natter before pressing on. All the cars pulled away and were off in a flash, except a certain member of the contingent whom forgot to turn their gas pilot light back on (no names mentioned!). Following some rather steep hills, we arrived at Wilton Windmill, where a guided tour of the Mill and its working was undertaken by the majority of the participants. We were also thrilled to be able to watch a group of Tiger Moths zig-zag across the sky above us for a good ten minutes, good organising on our part I think! But before too long, it was time to press on to Crofton Beam Engines, only a few miles down the road, where lunch was to be had by the river, as well as witnessing the engines in steam, which date from the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. This set-up was kindly arranged by fellow steam car owner Peter Turvey and his colleagues, who welcomed us with tickets, to allow us entry at a reduced rate, thank you Peter.
However, the journey from the Windmill was not without incident, as the model R driven by John Oliver decided its Swagelock fitting on the main steam line would part, causing the car to come to a halt. But thanks to much fettling by Basil Craske, a temporary repair was carried out, allowing the car to limp back to base, at a much reduced rate. Despite parting company again on a very steep hill, the car carried on, along with the others, back across the Salisbury Plain, stopping again for water, this time at a stream, before arriving back at base. The model R was then taken to Richard Hounslow’s workshop on his farm, where a satisfactory repair was undertaken, in readiness for the next day.
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