My Friends and other animals: Beulah Show 2015

Suffolk Black Face Ram. Beulah 2015

I would definitely want this young man on my side …. He is BIG !

Beulah Show 2015: the day began rather worryingly with a serious amount of precipitation and the forecast of the night before – “rain will have moved through by dawn” – seemed the usual pipe-dream.  But indeed by 10 am things began to brighten and by the time my friends and I headed off the show-ground into the hills, the sun was trying its best to break through.  By the time we got back, blue skies dominated and the afternoon was sometimes even warm !

As Vintage Steward (that’s a role not a description !) it is my task each year to plot a suitable route for the gentlemen and lady of the Classic Tractor brigade who annually attend to exhibit their wares.  As usual we had a good dozen exhibits and 8 tractors roamed the hills north of the village for a couple of hours.

Tractors at Beulah 2015

All lined for inspection prior to departure on the Beulah Show Tractor run 2015.

The regular runners are all local so it is unlikely that I can ever find a route most of them are not already familiar with.  I thought just maybe this year I had succeeded but it transpired they all knew the area better than I !  One had spent much of his child-hood at the remotest of the farms we came across, one still owned it and much of the surrounding land, another remote, now derelict, homestead had been the farmstead of the grand-parents of yet another rider and for several of the remainder it was a place they regular rode through on their quad bikes …. Ah well, never mind, they all seemed to enjoy the route and the views were certainly spectacular.  Also, given the amount of rain, the surface of the forest roads we were driving on was just what was needed so that we did no damage (apart from the usual air pollution !).

We set off from the showground just after noon and headed north west toward Abergwesyn.  We drove past the old farmstead of Lloft y Bardd, home of the inimitable ‘Bryn’ whom we lost just over a year ago but whose good and faithful friend, his ‘Fergie Fach’, I had taken to the show with a photograph taken a few years previously of him standing by it, adorning the bonnet.  At the Trallwm mountain bike centre we turned into the forest and passed through the land owned by George who had kindly given us permission to trespass.  A long slow climb led eventually to the old road that linked the farmsteads of the upper Cammarch.

Beulah Tractor run 1. 2015

The summit of a long slow climb that had the smokestacks puffing.

We journeyed along one of the forest roads towards the valley and came out at a clearing where we stopped and everyone chatted about this ruin or that ruin or whose parents came from there and how many brothers and sisters he had or who married the daughter from that place etc. etc.  It is one of the aspects I like about the tractor run; all the riders know each other and have done for many years and yet, out on the tractor run, they all find so much new information to talk to each other about and certainly, looking out over the old farms of that mountain prompted much conversation.

Whilst stopped at the first halt we were suddenly joined by a late arrival; a Fergie Gold (FE 35) owned by Brindley from Newbridge, a previous winner of the Vintage section of Beulah Show.  He had driven a long way from a little village called Merthyr Cynog which is high in the Eppynt, a good ten miles from Beulah.  Given we were in the middle of nowhere, a good few miles into the forest and had crossed several junctions and at least one cross roads, his tracking skills were exemplary…

Classic Tractors on the tractor run at Beulah 2015

The happy gang line-up in one of the forest clearings, Miss Carolina in the usual posing shades …

We had a new addition to the run this time, a retired local farmer, an old neighbour of mine in fact.  He borrowed a Fergie TED and by the grin on his face throughout,I think he enjoyed himself !  We had two Fordson Majors, one that had never seen hot water or a rag in sixty years, the other in immaculate restored condition, Dai and Deryl bring a touch of ‘before and after’ to the run.  Gareth and Shane had their usual cool look as they rode astride the Dextas, they have been coming since the very first tractor run 6 years ago.  There were two Massey Ferguson 35s, one of them was driven by a local man, Edwin, and he won the prize for best tractor, the other, which was clearly actually the best tractor, ahem, was the one of a certain South Carolina gal who was appearing in her fourth run and, as usual won the ‘farthest travelled’ award …

Another tradition which has become an established part of the run is to return to the Trout Inn for a pint and a plate of sausage and chips !  Eventually they all return to the show-ground and line up ready for the judging and for the visitors to enjoy the nostalgic display.  This year there seemed to be more visitors than in previous years and it was pleasing to see so many of them viewing the tractors and chatting to the owners.

MF35 girl driver

Whitney Brown leads the pack home on the Beulah Tractor run in 2015.

Edwin (Foxy)receives his winners rosette from the chairman and judge Huwey ! Fixed !!

Edwin (Foxy)receives his winners rosette from the chairman and judge Huwey ! Fixed !!

Tractors are now being prepared for winter storage, my little fleet will need to be squeezed back into the small barn. that is always a slightly sad task marking, as it does, the end of summer.

The Beulah show is nothing if not a local celebration of animals – horses and sheep – and the produce of gardens and school rooms.  As always the sheep section was very well attended and judging saw a large gathered crowd second guessing the Judge.

Judging Sheep at Beulah 2015

A crowd always eagerly awaits the judge’s decision.

Beulah Sheep Judging 2015

The ladies are made ready for inspection by the judge at Beulah Show 2015

Longest Thistle at Beulah Show 2015

Tallest American lady V tallest Welsh Thistle – both exceedingly prickly in my experience ! If I say she stands at around 6 ft you get a sense of the thistle’s size…

Some of the more bizarre competitions always bring a smile and the ‘Longest Thistle’ is one such.  Sometimes it can be difficult to scale the item in a photograph but having a 6 ft tall glamor puss (yes, that IS how glamour is spelled over there !) stand next to it does the trick.  Apparently Deryl won the competition.  Personally I’d be embarrassed to have thistles that long in my fields !!

Vegetables always amaze me.  I’m no gardener and certainly the growing of vegetables is atomic science to me,  so what was laid out in the ‘tent’ I found quite astonishing.  I felt somewhat overwhelmed by the effort and pride that goes into the growing and the displaying of the produce.  How ‘we’ find judges willing and able to separate one group from another and pick a winner is beyond me.  Spare a thought for the poor judge who had to taste dozens of pickle onions and decide on the best …. Surely once you have had one in your mouth there’s no way you can taste any others !!

The astonishing array of vegetables always amazes me - me who grows only trees and weeds !

The astonishing array of vegetables always amazes me – me who grows only trees and weeds !

The afternoon of Beulah show is rounded off by the ‘Trotting’races, that crazy spectacle where ladies and lads sit wide-legged on a wheel barrow frame and bounce along on solid wheels while a huge horse trots fast, a foot or so in front of them.  As if that is bonkers enough they do that surrounded by other folk doing exactly the same thing right next to  them !  It brings forth a large crowd and is a hugely popular sport here in Wales and it is guaranteed to get my admiration,  it looks SO uncomfortable and pretty darned dangerous !

Trotting races whizzing by

Sitting right next to the course gives a real sense of the drama and speed of the race.

It is only at the end of the day that all those of us involved in the Show organisation can sit and breathe out.   Those who attend have little idea of what goes into getting the show off the ground.  We have an amazing Secretary who does the massive amount of letter writing, fund raising and ordering.  There is a great deal of moving of heavy items such as sheep hurdles and tables and chairs, all of which come from some distance.  The massive number of posts that need to be knocked in to take the ropes of the trotting circuit is mind boggling.  Toilets and tents, vets and first aid, trailers and tractors and then, on the following morning, there is the whole clear up operation.  It is a massive effort by a few people that keep the show going.  We are lucky to have them, a neighbouring village has had to finally give up their show as not enough volunteers came forward to organise and run.  For over 80 years this little village has celebrated the agricultural and horticultural prowess of the locals and long may it continue.

A century ago in Flanders, my Great Uncle Dick was not having a jolly time …

Monday 6th September 1915.    Relieved of Guard at 1.30.  Nothing to do afterwards.

7th.  Working party at night.  Carrying pikes to trenches. Terrible rotten job really.

8th.  Inspection by Lt. Baddeley.  No working party.

9th.  Relieved Dublin in trenches at night.

10th. In trenches.  On sentry during day.

11th. In trenches.  On sentry again during day. Things are rather quiet.  No water to wash.  All very wrong.

12th. Building traverse with Cpl Griffiths.

13th. Working party making traverse.

14th. Working party digging traverse.

15th. Easy day.

16th. Heavy shelling during night.  Long rotten march to billets.

17th. In Varrines.  Route March at night.

18th. Working party all day near Forieville.  Plenty of work to do after 7 days in Trenches.

Back to some walling next week, jobs need to get done before the cold weather sets in, my lime mortar don’t like the cold !


One Response to “My Friends and other animals: Beulah Show 2015”

  1. Shirley Says:

    Looks like a lot of fun! So glad to see the girl on the Massey Ferguson 35 because I know it makes her heart sing! There’s nowhere she’d rather be than beautiful Wales. Good job keeping traditions alive, Beulah volunteers.

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