We booked our campsite stay at the Great Dorset Steam Fair some time ago so had been looking forward to it. We were a little concerned about the weather as the couple of weeks running up to it were not that good but the forecast for the weekend was actually very good.
We got much of the packing done on Thursday just leaving the last minute things for Friday – so we could get an early (for us) start.
After breakfast and getting those few things packed away we did the Betty shuffle – getting her hitched up and going through the light checks – so all ready by 10.30 – that’s a record.
The journey was good until we got to Westbury where we crawled through the town and then again going around the Warminster bye pass. We reckon the delays added the best part of an hour with no apparent reason except volume of traffic – oh well that’s Bank Holidays for you.
Our original plan was to eat after we had arrived at site – but because of the delay we opted to stop in a lay bye just before Blandford and have our lunch. We expected there would be further delays getting into site so it seemed the best thing.
The Sat Nav got us to the entrance and we found everything well organised – there were six lanes to que in but they were all empty so we got straight in – jammy or what.
I have to say that I was surprised at how many Motorhomes, Campervans, Caravans and tents were already there. We were pitched in the middle of campsite 1 – on a gentle slope. After getting Betty into position beside us Nigel did the business with the levelling and rolled out the awning. I did the inside stuff. We were more or less setup within half an hour.
We sat outside and watched as the campers continued to arrive. They estimate that more than 5000 Motorhomes, Caravans and tents attend each year. That adds up to about 25000 people living onsite (including exhibitors) during the show week.
It is a great sight – seeing the flags of many countries as well as all sorts of different kites flying from high poles fixed to caravans, awnings and tents – many of them with LED lights glowing or flashing through the night.
We had our meal of fish chips and sweetcorn and waited for darkness so we could see all the lights on the site – it did look lovely.
We slept very well – looking forward to our first look at the attractions tomorrow.
Saturday 26th August 2017
We woke up to a lovely sunny day and by about 9.30 there is a good sized que to get into the car parks – It’s a good job we came yesterday.
After breakfast we made our way down to the fairgrounds passing loads more Motorhomes and Caravans. Flags and LED’s are very popular – we may have to think about getting some.
The fair was brilliant with all the steam engines and Fairground rides both old and new. Some remind us of our childhoods although even then we were not brave enough to go on some of the more extreme ones.
They had a very good WW1 exhibit area with huge guns and trenches as well as vehicles and tents showing how things were.
We came back for lunch and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. Had an early meal so that we could go and see the fair in the evening with all the engines lit up and the steam organs playing, some with old time variety shows in front of them. There was a great atmosphere with old and young enjoying all the sights and sounds.
We made our way back to Voyager about 9.30 and both agreed it had been a lovely day.
Sleep was not long coming.
Sunday 27th August 2017
Another lovely day with the sun shining brightly and hardly a cloud in the sky.
After breakfast we again went down to the fair. Today we went to the second field which has 3 display arenas and loads of craft stuff in large marquees. There were some lovely things for sale but I always find things are a little too expensive at these fairs but they are great for ideas.
We watched some of the heavy horses being judged looking very smart in all their regalia, colourful pompoms and shiny brasses.
We left that arena and found the Sheep show. This was very good (and funny) – the shearer really made shearing a sheep fun to watch – the audience loved it.
Then we saw the falconry display – some eagles and buzzards – very educational as well as being great to see them flying.
By the time this show was done it was getting very hot and near to lunch time so we started making our way back to the van. Passing some old motorcycles getting ready for their display in the last arena and the display of vintage cars. We stopped to buy an ice cream (only one of the weekend) and a few peaches as my fruit supply had dwindled.
The weather has been really hot today so it was nice to eat our lunch in the shade of the awning and then have a bit of a snooze – hard work this holidaying lark.
We had a late evening meal as it was too hot to cook early – then watched the cricket highlights and a bit more TV until time to sleep.
Monday 28th August 2017
Woke this morning to find it a bit misty – but the sun burnt that off very quickly.
We decided on a restful day today and as we have seen most of the show in the last 2 days we set up outside and spent all day out there chilling. Sat in the shade I did my cross stitching – I suggested to Nigel about going to Weymouth tomorrow to make the most of the wonderful sunshine. He spent quite a while on the laptop trying to find a campsite that could accommodate us – not surprisingly they were mostly fully booked.
The show officially ended at 5pm but all day there has been a steady trickle of campers packing up and leaving – a lot of them will need to be back at work tomorrow – being retired is great.
The power went off at about one and we watched the electric firm collecting all the wires and junction boxes from around the field throughout the afternoon – so we are running on leisure batteries until we leave tomorrow – but the solar panels will do their bit to keep them charged until the sun goes down.
All evening people continue to pack up and leave the site and it was very dark tonight with very few lights –just a few solar powered ones.
The batteries had no problem giving us all we required. We watched the TV for five hours before we went to bed. It’s good to know that we can do a bit of wild camping now and again but I must find the lantern torch I bought for Nigel a few years ago just in case.
Tuesday 29th August 2017
It looks like the weather is starting to break this morning. It’s still bright but a few more clouds and definitely cooler. We have decided to go straight home today – I do miss home when we are away.
Our trip back was much easier and didn’t seem to take half as long – just the odd suicidal driver who thought it was OK to pull out in front of us.
Got home in time for lunch then our afternoon nap. We put some washing on and went grocery shopping – so all back to normal.