What a monster of a day! NGS this year, hosted by the Wessex NGM's and the final one to be organised by our retiring "chef du layout par excellence" Howard Coulson, was simply the biggest and many commented that in their opinion the best, one day narrow gauge show there has ever been. There were a total of 46 narrow gauge layouts, many of which were BIG ones, 33 of which were within the small scale bracket covered by the 009 Society who were concurrently holding their AGM at the venue, and there were no less than 23 trade and society/association stands in support. (which was amazingly described by one commentator on his website as “a smattering of traders”…..). Many of the layouts that attended would have easily been “star attractions” on their own at some lesser mainstream “national” and even “international” events. The fact that they were all gathered together and both celebrity and first time exhibits (of which there were a good number) were given equal standing, without any form of discrimination or elitism, which also occurs in some shows that I have attended, made the day the very friendly and informal one that all who have been to Sparsholt before appreciate so much, and the circumstances of this particular occasion made it a very special day as evidenced by the large number of visitors and participants who took the trouble to personally pay their own compliments at the end of what was a very long day for most who were there, particularly the hosting team!
In order to shoehorn an impression of the day into this gallery, I have had to severely restrict the number of photos that I have allowed for each layout in a quest to provide a photo souvenir for those that came and to show those that couldn’t come what a great variety of layouts there were, to just one or two in most cases. I have however managed (I think!) to include at least one photo of every layout that was present – I am quite pleased with myself at that, even though the pace of the day meant that all photos taken were quick opportunity auto-focus unposed snaps. It took several days to recover my eyesight and feet from rushing from room to room from 0730 until close of play and viewing the whole show through a camera viewfinder! One of these days I will attend a show without a camera and I might actually get to see the layouts and enjoy the detail in them which you don’t see when trying to line up suitable photographic angles!
I don't know how other ng show organisers are going to match this one in future events, but if you did attend, then you will know that you participated in what will probably go down in the narrow gauge modelling annals as a unique and never to be repeated event! If you could have gone but didn't, or if you did go but only gave some of the rooms a passing glance and didn’t stay long enough to take in the full panoply of the day, then start kicking yourself now, you’ve only got yourself to blame!
Click Here to see the Photo Album for this Report