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All photos in this Blogspot and those accessed in Google Images via the links in each report are my Copyright and may be saved for personal use only. They may not be republished elsewhere without the written permission of the Copyright holder.

Hello and welcome to my twice reinstated and updated photo reports of visits to narrow gauge model railway layouts and events! Following the sudden and untimely cessation of Fotopic in March 2011 and with it the loss of my photo galleries, I started this blog in order to try to keep my "Roving Reports" available to those who enjoy viewing them. I have linked this blogsite to the old galleries which I originally rebuilt and posted in albums in Picasaweb. Once all the old reports had been rebuilt, I have continued to add completely new ones to cover my visits to events from April 2011 onwards.

In August 2016 Google blocked access to Picasaweb in order to force everyone to use their "much better" Google Images, so I had to do the whole exercise again. Thanks! .

Meanwhile......Because of the way this Blogspot works, the most recent postings appear first and the oldest ones last. Each report contains a link to the Google photo album plus captions for that report. The link will take you to the front page of the Google Album for this report. Left click on the first photo and it will open into a manually operated slideshow. A panel should open alongside the image on the right showing the number of the photo and the caption text. If it does not appear, click on the small white disk top right of the photo panel and it will open. Move forward or backwards by clicking the right or left arrows on your keyboard. When you have finished viewing, click the back arrow showing top left of the photo panel and this will take you back to the album opening page.

Close it in the normal way by clicking on the "X" top right or click the return arrow top left of the Windows screen to return to the blog, depending on which browser you use. Once back in the blog, any report can be accessed sequentially from the blog by scrolling downwards and if required, click on the "older posts" link at the bottom of the list, or simply go to the Blog Archive on the right of the window and select any report by simply clicking on the title.

Thursday 13 June 2024

Norfolk & Suffolk NG Modellers Open Day, Beccles, 01 June 2024

Normally, I should not even consider driving across the 300+ mile width of the country from an hour to the west of the Severn Bridge all the way to Beccles in faraway Suffolk and back again in the same day, but I’m not “normal” (according to some, who know me better than I do) and, after finding it “do-able” to drive an over 400 miles return trip to Merseyside two weeks previously in a day, then “what would an extra 120 miles or so each way matter?”, particularly as I learned of several friends in the hobby who were also travelling long and long-ish distances to be there.

Was it worth it? Yes indeed it was, a great little show to visit and enjoy, excellent variety of top quality modelling, a friendly and informal atmosphere, renewing acquaintances with friends old and new, and a very well organised event indeed.

After getting home at the end of a 17½ hour day from departure at 3.30am to return at 9pm, and another 640 miles clocked up on the ailing car I have at least come to the stark reality conclusion that an overnight stay would have been a much better and safer option, but that’s a lesson learned (possibly!) and to answer the “Would I visit an N&SNGM Open Day again?” question, I certainly would like to, if I prepare a bit better than making the decision to “do it” the day before the event next time!




Wednesday 12 June 2024

Merseyside & Southwest Lancs Narrow Gauge Group meeting, Rainford, 18 May 2024

In recent years, the Group has grown through Stan Williams’ regular routine Saturday afternoon meet ups and other special occasions, in the compact Corpus Christi church hall in Rainford, to regular attendances of over 60 and sometimes many more, who come along from, in some cases, long distances from all over the north, as well as occasional “guest” appearances from even further, at what has become popularly known as “Stan’s Tea Party” (the other colloquialism “NG Stan” is usually reserved for larger events!).

I was in the area last year and was able to make a visit (see my 2023 roving report). I was very impressed, so with the anniversary of that visit approaching I made the decision to abandon the budget or the mileage on the car, get up early and head into the motorway system towards the north west! Fortunately neither the M4, M5 or M6 were as bad as they were the previous year, and I made it with a car parking space still available and the kettle already boiling just after opening time at mid day!

 Another splendid afternoon amongst similarly afflicted narrow gauge modelling friends new and old and once again I very much enjoyed and valued the visit. The only downside of these sort of long distance expeditions is having to go all the way back home afterwards and try to account for the insane damage to personal stamina and the household finances for petrol – but well worth it. Thank you to Stan Williams for laying this regular little event on and to David Hennessey (and Alan Martin on this occasion) for keeping the kettle topped up throughout the afternoon. Must do it again sometime!

Click on the link below the following photo to access the album and then the first image which will then open up the “Roving Report” with all the captioned photos. 




Narrow Gauge South, Barton Peverill College Eastleigh, 27 April 2024

Once again it is time for the biennial Narrow Gauge South, The Wessex Narrow Gauge Modeller’s biennial event which originated with a show in Southampton in 1976 and has been held regularly ever since. By 1982 it had evolved into the large event that it has become and is now one of just two of the surviving big specialist shows in the UK, along with Narrow Gauge North, in Leeds, that are held regularly, since the demise of Expo NG and NG Southwest. This year’s event is the third time that it has been held in Eastleigh, in Barton Peveril College and the 100 or so enthusiasts who participated as layout exhibitors, traders, society/association publicity stands or in the host “team”, were joined by over 400 visitors. 

To quote part of Exhibition Manager Tim Couling’s welcome in the very comprehensive illustrated 21 page complimentary show guide (other exhibition and open day managers please note!): 

“A warm “Welcome Back!” and thank you once again for joining Wessex Narrow Gauge Modellers at this year’s Narrow Gauge South model railway exhibition.”

“Narrow Gauge South is the largest and longest running specialist narrow gauge railway exhibition in the UK and we are pleased to offer this showcase of “all things Narrow Gauge”once again here at Barton Peveril College, Eastleigh.”

At the time of writing this introduction, mid June 2024, the superb show guide is still accessible as a PDF document and can be found in the Wessex NGM and NG South website by clicking  HERE

A number of viewers of my reports have commented that reading through the captions and seeing the photos are likened to having an online visit to what an event was like, so in this report I have tried to keep this in mind by taking at least one photo of every one of the 50 stands that were present, so that all trade and society publicity stands have been included as well as all the layouts. Additionally I have kept them into their stand number sequence, from stand 1 through to 50 for the benefit of anyone who would like to follow the report in harness with the show guide. 

I apologise in advance to the culinary enthusiasts and critics that I haven’t included any photos of the breakfast or lunch that were available from the College restaurant – check out my NG South report for 2022 for images of both of these. Nothing has changed except the price has gone up and the plastic knife and fork has changed to a wooden knife (good) and a compressed paper type of fork (very, very bad – try sticking that into a rasher of bacon!). 

So, that’s enough of all that I think, let’s get on with the show and I do hope that you enjoy the visit to Narrow Gauge South 2024!

PART 1 features stands 1 to 19, including the following layouts

Stand:

        Lynton & Barnstaple Modules 016.5                        Paul Steedman

10        Bryn y Felin 009                                                       Matthew Kean

12        Andeer H0m                                                             Julia & Derek Boswell

13        Green End 009                                                         David Gander

14        Newton Heath Works 0/016.2                                  Mike Baker

16        Surrey & Sussex Black Sheep Modules 0n30         Simon Cox

17        Ryedown Lane 009                                                  Patrick Collins

19        Kaninchenbau  H0e                                                 Iain Morrison



PART 2 features stands 20 to 30, including the following layouts:

Stand:

20        Little Himalayan Railwy 009                                       Giles Perkins

22        Kurseong  009                                                            John Crane

23        Tarrant Valley Railway 009                                         Stuart Webb

24        Wickhambreux Road 009                                           David Marshall

25        Portpyn  1:34                                                              Christopher Payne

27        Clearwater Harbor  0n30                                            Stephen Waterfield

28        Dinas Mawddwy  EM                                                  Andy Cundick

29        Tan y Llyn  009                                                           Steve Flay



PART 3 features Stands 31 to 50, including the following layouts:

Stand:

31        Sandy Shores  009                                                    Jamie Warne

33        Isle of Morella - 5.5mm Modular Group                     Steve Jones

34        Bowcombe Bridge 009                                               Nic Arthur

35        Tansey Bank & Hobbs Row Halt                                Bob Vaughan

37        Crossways Wagon Works 0 & 09                               John Cavell

38        Hawkridge 009                                                            Chris Mould

40        Castle Careinion 009                                                   Martyn Harrison

43        Gweithdy Dyffryn  014                                                 Derek Harris

45        East Quay  009                                                            John Niblett

46        Fintonagh  0n3 (21mm gauge)                                    David Holman

48        Cezanne  HOm                                                            Ian Pollock

49        Gemtø:  Ikkehavn  H0e                                               Richard Williams



That's it for this report - 200 photos this time, I hope you have enjoyed the visit to Narrow Gauge South, lots more reports to hopefully come before the next NGS in 2026!


Saturday 2 March 2024

Howard’s Farewell, Compton Dundon, Somerset, 24 February 2024

Shortly after the death of Howard Martin, on 24 March last year, following a long period of illness, his good friend Barrie Baker and members of the Small & Delightful Group, stated their intention to run a memorial day in his memory in early 2024. Barrie requested friends who knew Howard and had small layouts or displays, to come along to celebrate his life. Glastonbury & Street Lions, assisted with running this special day and 20 owners brought their layouts along with a further 4 displays and dioramas.

Howard was an Honorary Life Member of both the 009 Society and 7mm NGA, a dedicated member of the Lions Foundation and exhibition manager of the legendary and much missed Shepton Mallet Narrow Gauge South West for its 25 annual shows held between 1992 and 2017. Howard was also instrumental in the organisation of a number of model railway exhibitions, including the charitable Glastonbury & Street Lions Club show and Small & Delightful Group biennial open days at Compton Dundon, He was also the proprietor of Avalon Models and a prolific narrow gauge modeler himself.

It was a truly memorable day which was enjoyed by over 250 people, including those who were participating in one way or another, many of whom had travelled long distances to be there, which held all of the “traditions” fondly remembered of NG Southwest: fierce sunlight streaming through the big windows, making all photography difficult (!); a slightly chaotic but very friendly and informal atmosphere; write your own show guide (NG Southwest did have a programme, but it was always full of errors and amendments!); splendid catering from the Glastonbury & Street Lions Ladies and of course some superb examples of narrow gauge modeling in a variety of scales.

My photo album that follows is, hopefully, a snapshot of the whole event, for both those that were there and for those who were unable to be there as a reminder of a very special day.

Well done indeed, Barrie and Friends. Can you do it again next year please?

I have to admit that I had something of a disaster with some of my photos due to very fierce flare coming from strong sunlight streaming through the large windows and my inability for me and my camera to cope with this. I apologise for some photos that did “make the cut” that are less than my desired quality. However I am very grateful to Paul Steedman and Simon Andrews, who both generously gave me permission to use some of their own photos to fill some gaps that my inability to produce acceptable images produced! Thanks very much gents!




Sunday 18 February 2024

SWOONS 17th Members Open Day, Ilton, 13 January 2024

 As South West 009 Society Group Chairman Geoff Bowyer stated in the programme: "What better way to start the New Year as our Society enters its 51st year". He added: "Hopefully there will be enough room to fit everyone in...." Well it was a squash late morning with over 150 visitors not including children as well as all the participants making nearly 200 happy souls shoe-horned into the small village hall amongst the 8 layouts, 3 excellent trade stands, full Society sales table plus Matt & Maria Gicquel's mini-cafe (with table service from Continental Modeller Editor Andrew Burnham acting as waiter and chief washer-upper!). A good number of regular long distance travellers from up to 200 miles away spotted amongst the throng as well. Well organised but still informal and friendly. Group events like this are what it's all about!




Wednesday 4 October 2023

009 Society 50th Anniversary Exhibition, Statfold, 16-17 September 2023

 


That was certainly a Challenge with a capital C! Those of us who were around in 2013 may remember the Society 40th anniversary main celebration, which was a weekend convention at the Best Western Hotel in Kegworth, where some 200 members of the Society signed up for the full weekend and some 300 visitors, both members and public came on the Saturday or Sunday. A fantastic weekend, fondly remembered by all who took part and the general feeling was that it was a one-off that could not be topped.


Well, it was never intended that the 50th, golden anniversary of the Society was going have a competition or try to better that memorable weekend. Hiring a hotel for exclusive use for a weekend was out for a number of reasons and what with the Covid pandemic, lockdowns, credit crunch and all the rest, the time available to sort something memorable out for the anniversary was compressed. Whilst some planning for the anniversary had been on the committee agenda for years, it was 2022 when it gained momentum and the team of Society members that put everything together worked very hard over many long hours to firm up the host of things needed to run not only what is generally thought to be the biggest show exclusively covering the 009 "family" of scales eg 009, 00n3, HOe, HOm etc, with over 50 layouts plus trade and association attendance and to have it over 2 days in the main UK "magnet" of narrow gauge at Statfold as well as a gala Dinner for members on the Saturday night. 


Was it a success?  I met many people who thought it would not be one, and at times I have to admit that I shared concern that it was not going to be a repeat of the 40th weekend in Kegworth. However, the Society has reported that "750 members, operators and traders; and 450 members of the public enjoyed over 50 layouts, specialist trade stands and the gala dinner on the Saturday night" where 143 attended. Yes is certainly was a success, a very big success indeed! 


I was "invited to volunteer" to be the official photographer with a remit to take photos of every layout. I did manage to do that, but it came with a "downside". To get round every layout, I estimated that I would have to allow about 8 minutes for each layout. What I had not estimated was the effect on stamina (I ain't olympic standard fit any more......) or the fact that it would take 20 minutes or more of reunions and chats to get from one layout to another! The other drawback was that the size of the challenge was such that I would only be ablle to do one pass at each layout, so when I turned up with camera in hand, I had to snap what there was at that time, which has rather restrained the variety of stock on layouts and in-depth photos of parts of layouts that I would normally manage at a members open day event in a village hall with a full day to enjoy a dozen or so layouts. 


Similar compromises had to be made with captions. I am aware that captions to photos are a popular and essential requirement for any self-respecting event report, but it is a very time-consuming task to try to make every photo be accompanied by several lines of interesting text
So, what we have on offer here is photo coverage of every layout that attended, restricted to between 5 and 10 photos of each layout. Captions in the main are restricted to simply the layout name and the owner. I haven't listed scales, they are all 009 except for some HOe, HOm and 00n3 which I am confident that narrow gauge modellers who are visiting this report will be able to work out for themselves! In a few cases I have added some words to the basic captions, and over the coming months I will periodically visit and add a few more here and there, but in order to present this report sometime before the next 50th anniversary I have had to be quite firm in keeping things brief and simple in order to have it uploaded and available for all to see within a reasonable time before the exhibition becomes just a vague memory!


I do recommend that a very good supplement to viewing this photo report is to use the superb 28 page show guide that was produced by Steve Lanham. It can be downloaded from this link and every layout featured has a paragraph about it supplied by the layout exhibitor.


If you use the show guide in this way, please note that stand 56, Abberley and stand 65 Malvern did not attend.



Right, let's get on with it then! There are 7 parts to this report. In the usual way, under each photo shown below, there is a link. Click on the link and it will take you to the photo album for that part of the report. When you want to go to the next part, click on back arrows in the album to get you back to this blogsite, scroll to the next album link and so on. And most of all......Enjoy!

PART 1

Part 1 covers some personalities, a photo of every trader (except 2 that I missed) that attended as well as every association or railway publicity, stand and a very brief glance at some of the Statfold locos; and the Saturday evening dinner. 


Parts 2 to 7 cover the 50 plus layouts and I will make a contents list of which layouts are featured in each part 

PART 2

Part 2 features:
Stand
4          Glendale                                Chris Beadle
5          Sandy Shores                        Jamie Warne
6          Bottle Kiln Lane                     John Thorne
7          Dartmoor Modular                  Members of the Dartmoor 009 Group
8          Bruckless                               Andy Cundick
9          Shipmeadow                          Richard & Sarah Doe
10        Ilfracombe East                      Brian and Sue Key
11        Ulvaryd Strand                       Charlie Insley
12        De Niggende Saligheyd         Hugo Baart



PART 3

Part 3 features:
Stand
13        Tan-y- Llyn                      Steve Flay
14        Clyre Valley                     Tim Couling
15        Ryedown Lane                Patrick Collins
17        Kurseong                        John Crane
19        Royston Wharf                Tony Clarke
20        Cattsbrook                      Geoff Harper
21        Gilderdale Mine               Peter Hogarth
22        Tan-yr-Allt/Dwffr Uchaf    Stan Williams & Alan Mountfield
23        Turtle Bay                        Rob Rossington



PART 4

Part 4 features:
Stand
24A      Slugworth & Co                          Joshua Campbell
24B      Loctern                                       Michael Campbell
25        Launceston Steam Railway        Richard Holder
27        Ostravia                                      Blair Hobson
28        Sud Harz                                    Paul Steedman
30        Cefn Bryn Carreg                       Twmos Bayliss
31        Cherry Tree Halt                        John Davis
32        Lesobeng                                   Paul Spray
34        Castle Caereinion                      Martyn Harrison



PART 5

Part 5 features:
Stand
37        Llandecwyn                        Martin Collins
38        Kaninchenbau                    Iain Morrison
39        Yr Ellen                              Mike Le Marie
43        Avin-A-Llyin                        Andrew & Alison Bailey
44        Tan Y Bwlch                       Brychan Watkins
46        Garreg Wen                       Matt Kean
47        Coleford                             John & Annabel Wilkes
49        Yurze Ore Mine                  Lucien Eijdems
50        Creag Dhubh Summit        Ted Polet



PART 6

Part 6 features:
Stand
51        Smallbridge Junction                          Dale Gillard
52        Ashbury Wharf                                    Michael Hammond
53        St Margaret's Grange                         Chris Meaney
54        Whimsy                                               David Harrington
55        Brandgeight                                        Peter Hardy
57        Woodford                                            Trevor Street
58        Tyn-Goch/Jennings Farm Crossing    Martin Sutcliffe
59        Ravens Ravine plus Port William       David Wright
60        Newton/Goathorn                               Graham Kean



PART 7

Part 7 features:
Stand
61        Llandyrau                            Jo Vincent & Paul Towers
62        Little Himalayan Railway    Giles Perkins
63        Aberglaslyn                         Andrew Holland
64        Tren Bach                           Richard Johnson
66        Cenac's Sidings                  James Hodgkiss
67        Long Sibford                       Members of the Oxfordshire Group
68        Bron                                    Stuart Bass
69        Llan Lechid                         David Johnston



Phew! I hope that if you have managed to get this far that you have enjoyed viewing my photo record of the weekend spent mainly on my feet in the big exhibition hall at Statfold!


I now await reports of gremlins amd errors encountered! 

Mick, 4 October 2023


Thursday 24 August 2023

Wiltshire Group 009 Society, 19th Biennial Members Day, Pewsey, 05 August 2023

August again, and it’s an odd numbered year, so it is time for the bi-ennial Wiltshire Group members and friends day at the Bouverie Hall in the Wiltshire village of Pewsey, which conveniently happens to be the home of the famous Marshall’s Bakery and their “extra sticky” lardy cake. So a healthy low-sugar diet for the weeks leading up to the 5th of August, satnav set to “100 miles East” along the M4 from my own direction and a couple of hours after leaving home early on the Saturday morning, safe arrival at the venue at around 9am, where it was already buzzing with activity as layouts and stands are set up, re-unions take place and the water boiler is already on its 2nd refill in the kitchen.

Bouverie Hall is quite a compact venue, but Andy Cundick and his fellow members from the Wiltshire 009 Society Group managed to fit in no less than 18 exhibitors, a couple with multiple small layouts, plus demonstrations and trade as well as a seating area for tea, coffee, committee meetings and lardy cake consumption. It was yet another great day out overall, tinged with poignancy at times in recognition of Group stalwart, the late Angus Watkins, sadly no longer with us.



This report has brought me up to date with a very long list of delayed ones that have existed one way or another for some time now. I do hope that all this effort to catch up has been worth it for the reduced number of loyal supporters that have been patient and “stayed the course” I very much appreciate the encouragement I have been given to carry on over several periods when different circumstances rather clipped my wings and my motivation. Decks now clear and ready for the really big one approaching which will indeed be a challenge – recording the forthcoming 009 Society 50th anniversary weekend event at Statfold Barn 16/17 September 2023. I hope to see lots of us there and if you can’t get there, I hope that you will be able to see my results before 2024 arrives (and departs!)

Best wishes Mick