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Sunday, 21 September 2014

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Hundreds take part in Cumbrian charity tractor run

A roar erupted and a cloud of fumes filled the air as the order to start your engines was given at the National Vintage Tractor Run.

Tractor fair photo
Callum Pollard and dad Charlie Emmott

Almost 500 tractors from across the country gathered at Kirkbride Airfield on Sunday morning for a 25-mile ride-out across the Solway Plain.

The choking fumes didn’t wipe away the smiles of enthusiasts admiring each other’s engines at an event that is expected to raise several thousand pounds for The Great North Air Ambulance and The Eden Valley Children’s Hospice.

The Bishop of Penrith blessed the rally with a short sermon delivered from the bucket of a cherry picker on Easter Sunday.

He said: “My wife told me this morning not to even think of entering the raffle.”

The star prize was a vintage tractor worth £5,000, donated by Cumbrian farmers and restored by event organiser Willie Pollock, chairman of the Packhorse Tractor Club.

He said: “It’s a fantastic turnout with far more tractors than I expected.

“It’s very difficult to pick a favourite tractor from this lot, there is a lot that I would love to own but can’t afford.”

The raffle was won by a Derbyshire man who refused to believe he’d won until a crowd gathered at a hog roast on Saturday night gave a huge cheer down the phone.

The tractor run took in Newton Arlosh, Drumburgh, Bowness-on-Solway and Cardurnock.

At an average speed of 10 miles an hour, it took many of the machines more than two hours to complete.

Stacey Kane helped organise the event. “It’s been a lot of hard work,” she said. “Lots of people helped out. We’re young farmers and we’re used to organising big events.”

Wifes, girlfriends and children of the, mostly male, tractor drivers were pulled along route in trailers.

There were at least 24 tractors from Wales and one from Cornwall.

Don Elliot borrowed Keith Simpson’s McCormick and travelled from Carlisle. “This is absolutely wonderful because it’s a nice get together. I’m a wagon driver normally.”

Sue and Jim Pigg from Wigton came along to watch. Jim owns several vintage tractors but bad knees stopped him from taking part.

He said: “We’ll never see this again, not round here anyway. You do wonder if some of these tractors will make it around the route.”

The National Tractor Run is held in a different part of the country every year.

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