Last weekend the weather was kind to the Chailey Classic & Vintage Tractor Club for their ‘Mad as a March Hare’ spring tractor run, on this occasion in conjunction with Tinkers Park Steam Charitable Trust, Hadlow Down.
Always based on a theme, this year’s spring tractor road run was listed as the River Run, being an initiative to follow the tributaries of the rivers Ouse and Uck into Lewes.
With two comfort stops at the Pig & Butcher in Five Ash Down for tea and coffee and then at the Laughing Fish, Isfield, the amalgamation of Chigleys and Tinkers relaxed in the warm sunshine to watch and enjoy a few dances courtesy of their affiliated Morris side Spirimawgus, a local border side who support the club on regular occasions.
Thereafter the route led the procession of up to 40 tractors, comprising numerous makes and models, into Lewes which were led into the town centre by steam, specifically the ‘Tinker’, a mint Fowler Gold medal award-winning traction engine owned and preserved by Tinkers Park. Many smiling faces and mobile phone cameras proved testimony to the fascination and enjoyment of the public who were clearly thrilled to see the barking and hissing presentation of so many vintage machines, accompanied by a few vintage cars, proceeding through a busy Cliffe High Street and into Harveys Brewery who kindly hosted the event.
Once safely parked up for the night, the cavalcade enjoyed live music courtesy of Newick Folk, a local produce sourced barbeque provided by Nose to Tail Butchers, Piltdown, a working fairground organ, a model railway exhibition and the club’s designated charity, St Peter & St James Hospice were present with a stand to help collect for their noble cause. A tour of the brewery was extended to club members courtesy of Harveys and those who participated enjoyed a trip home to the outlying villages in a vintage double decker bus.
The Chigleys’ ‘Mad as a March Hare River run’ was by far the largest and most ambitious gathering in the short 18 months since the club’s instigation and many pictures from the day can be seen on the club’s Facebook page.