Sights, sounds and smells from a bygone era at steam rally

Written by Pete Davison.

Sights, sounds and smells from a bygone era were relived at Rainscombe Park, in Oare, on Saturday and Sunday at the Wiltshire Steam and Vintage Rally.

Set in the natural amphitheater of the country house, hundreds of vintage cars, motorbikes, tractors and steam engines attracted thousands of spectators, ranging from casual sightseers with their families to knowledgeable enthusiasts, keen to get their hands oily.

Now in its 28th year, the show was a fundraiser for the Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust, which provides a home security service for elderly, vulnerable and disadvantaged people throughout Wiltshire, and one of the more unusual attractions was a Thames Valley Police tractor, although visitors were assured the vehicle was used to promote farm security, rather than hot pursuits.

Visitors were never far from a lung full of smoke or a whiff of engine oil, and piped music from fairground organs could occasionally be heard over the chug of engines – and they would not have it any other way.