Every September a little corner of Cambridgeshire comes alive with the chugging of engines, the smell of soot and the sound of fairground organs. Haddenham Steam Rally has been going for years and years, and is something of a family tradition for us.
As a child, I went with my parents every year. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it’s hot – but usually, it’s a classic English day in early September: bright sunshine, a nippy wind and a few dark clouds on the horizon.
I like carrying on this tradition with my two boys and James. To be honest, they probably love it more than I ever did as a child. Steam engines, vintage tractors, giant threshing machines – what more could a little boy want?
Apart from the engines, there’s all the excitement of a traditional fair ground – with steam-driven galloping horses, chair planes and a helter skelter.
I go mainly for the pleasure of watching the boys enjoying it all, and – crucially – to eat fudge. No trip to Haddenham Steam Rally would be complete without a bag of crumbly, vanilla fudge. There’s also all manner of randomness for sale on the stalls – old tools, knitted jumpers with tractors on them and neon boiler suits a-plenty.
This year I went on the chair planes for the first time in many years. Don’t think I’ll be doing that again in a hurry!
If you’re ever in the area in early September, it’s definitely worth a visit. Where else would you see a dog being towed along by a miniature steam engine? See if you can spot him.
To find a similar steam rally near you, the Steam Heritage Museums and Events Guide has a good list here.
What are your favourite Autumn events?