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Festival of Country Life

Lamport Hall, Lamport, Northamptonshire, NN6 9HD.

Event Enquiries: Email Estate Office | Tel: 01604 686272 | View Website

27th - 28th May 2018

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This was our first visit to Lamport Festival of Country Life, despite it being on the go for 30 years. In previous years we've either attended Carrington Rally or gone caravanning at the Caravan & Motorhome Club National Rally, but this year opted for a change of scenery. The journey was slightly longer than anticipated as the sat-nav took us most of the way along the A14 although there appears to be a shorter route parallel to the dual-carriageway which could cut off a big corner.

Lamport, like both Carrington & Strumpshaw is a Sunday-Monday show so we took the opportunity to go off site on Saturday back to Peterborough to the American, Hot-rod & Custom Car Show, very expensive to get in but some amazing cars on show. Arriving back at Lamport, however, was like a breath of fresh air after the brash atmosphere of the East of England showground. Set in parkland, the show spreads from the main field into a smaller paddock on the way up towards the stables quadrangle, and on towards the house. The stables were immaculately kept, and each stall or loose box housed a craft business.

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Just outside of the stables, the Hannington Vintage Tractor Club who run the rally side of the event, have quite a good museum of artefacts, engines, tractors and machinery telling the story of farming through the ages. Several of the engines outside and in the open-fronted buildings were running machinery by virtue of the line-shafting installed in the buildings. A smaller room housed a large collection of stationary engines and other bygones, and outside more buildings shared space for machinery with some motorcycles for the weekend.

Outside, a selection of craft, antique and collectable stalls fed through into the smaller field which was given over to country crafts, a large working arena which housed the Tullos threshing-set and a hay-making demonstration, and the classic cars which were mainly a different selection on Sunday to Monday. Through into the main rally field, a good selection of steam engines and lorries were backed up to the hedge and these led onto three rows of stationary engines which seemed to have plenty of room and set onto shorter grass which allowed the engines to be seen better, instead of almost being lost in long grass as at some other shows.

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All rows led up towards the catering and bar and then across to the bygone and model displays in awnings, which was our section. I'm assuming the catering came under the jurisdiction of the estate as all three food units in this field were similarly styled & themed rustic horse-box outlets, and didn't offer that much choice, particularly if you weren't interested in the middle-Eastern cuisine one offered. Behind the awning displays, a double-row of tractors bridged the gap over to the trade-stands which were mainly set around the perimeter of the main-ring in the traditional manner.

There was a good selection of second-hand "tat" stalls which offered good pickings for a change with a bag full of oil and grease tins being added to the display for the weekend. The missus added some hanging baskets from her favourite flower-seller which swung from the grab-handles in the back of the car all the way home. Beyond the trade stands were several different working areas under the stewardship of various HVTC members, including a large collection of AEC & Doulous timber tractors at work, including a very well-worn Matador which proclaimed, "you can't test what isn't there"!

Beyond these, a small line-up of classic motorhomes, caravans and campers led onto a small military contingent and commercial vehicle lines and back to the main exhibitor entrance. Personally speaking, although Lamport is slightly further than Carrington, we found the setting to be very pleasant and less impersonal than Carrington, which perhaps comes with the latter being a top "show" in the preservation calendar whereas Lamport seems to be more of a traditional "vintage rally". We can't promise we'll be back next year as we may attend the CMC B National at Ragley Hall, Warwickshire, but for those that can, next year's dates are below.

2019: 26th - 27th May

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