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Back in the early 1980s I was secretary of the local vintage club, well the “South Wales Group of the National Vintage Tractor & Engine Club” actually. Although called the South Wales Group it was centred around Cardiff with members from about a 20 mile radius. Later, to avoid confusion with the South West Wales Group, we changed our name to “The Glamorgan & Gwent Group of The National Vintage Tractor & Engine Club”, quite a mouthful I’m sure you’ll agree; We rationalised it and called ourselves “Glamorgan & Gwent NVTEC “. As part of our promotional activities we liked to spread the word and would accept invitations from all sorts of events to put on a display of stationary engines and machinery, sometimes our members weren’t very keen on attending the more unusual locations, particularly if it meant being out in the cooler months of the year.

Mynyddislwyn Ploughing Match, March 1980

The photograph shown here was taken in March 1980 at the annual Mynyddislwyn Ploughing Match near Bedwellty and a few members of our group have been squeezed into a scruffy corner of a draughty farmyard to stage our small display. This really was too early in the year to be standing around for hours for what would usually be a very small public turn-out, but occasionally it paid dividends as farmers would inform us of engines waiting to be rescued. In the photograph we see a few stationary engines, there were only three of us exhibiting. In the foreground is an open-crank Amanco engine owned by Gordon who was from Blackwood, next to that is my Stuart & Turner generator which I had only recently acquired. Hiding behind the cooling tank of my engine is a Lister D, owned by my friend Alan from Cardiff, who also brought along an unrestored Lister A seen on the trailer on the right; I think I may have had that engine from Alan but never restored it or even had it running, I just had too many other engines which historically were more important.

My memory tells me it was freezing up on that mountain and a few snow flurries were experienced whilst we were there. A random kid in Parka and wellington boots has crept into this picture and with his hood up for protection from the biting mountain-top wind gives some idea of the temperature at this location. The boy may have been my friend’s son, but if he was a visitor he was representative of the numbers of the public we saw that day – very few!

There is also a short film without sound I recorded on Super 8 ciné film, this is on my youtube channel: