The International Steam Pages

Steam Plough Club Great Challenge (13th - 14th October, 2018)

This is one of a series of pages I have uploaded to illustrate facets of the steam rallies we have attended in the UK. Click here for the 2018 introduction and overall index.

The Steam Plough Club ( was founded in 1966, its slogan is "Keeping ploughing engines, implements and skills alive". In 2016, the serendipity of having the National and World Ploughing Championships at Crockey Hill near York offered a chance for a public 50th anniversary celebration which would showcase the activities of the club and particularly its members, of which I am proud to number myself as one even though I do not own a suitable engine and have no aspiration to do so. I attended and the report of that event is elsewhere on this site.

This year's event was held in parallel with the National Ploughing Championships near Atherstone in Warwickshire. It was the 8th such 'Great Challenge' in which the crews of pairs of engine pit their skills against each other, there in effect being two parallel competitions according to the type of plough (deep or shallow) utilised. 

I attended Day 1 which turned out dry and bright despite earlier weather forecasts which suggested Friday's heavy rain would continue through the whole weekend. It was very windy which ruled out recording video but conditions for both ploughing and photography were good. However, as seems to have been the case all through this season, all but two of the engines faced north and as activity was concentrated into four hours in the middle of the day it was challenging to get the engines well lit. Sunday was expected to be very wet (and it was) so I went elsewhere to get soaked.

This report is presented in a different form to normal, a draw was made which placed each pair entered randomly on 11 plots and I have shown each in turn. While I photographed every engine and every plough in use, it turned out that some plots got more coverage than others. It was a large site (ca 60 acres) and simply recording each in turn would have been impractical as initial starts and subsequent breaks were totally random and I also wanted to make the best of the available light. I must have walked many miles over the period of the day and when the sun dropped into dark grey clouds at 16.30 I packed up and retired to start sorting my results. I am sure with Sunday's forecast in mind, much overtime will have been worked, but I doubt any pair would have got anywhere near completing their allocated plot. I did assume that Sunday would have been a washout, an online newspaper report suggested otherwise, but I have since heard that the competition was curtailed. Originally, an afternoon line up was scheduled but it if did happen the light would have been even worse than when I snapped this miniature version after I arrived at about 10.00.

Choose the page you are interested in and within that, click on a thumbnail for a larger image. Then click again to return to the page.

David Collidge's Steam Scenes website ( is a fount of information and was a great help in compiling these pages.

Cable Steam Ploughing Other Engines Roundabout
Steam Ploughing

Malcolm Ranieri

Malcolm was one face sadly missing from this event as he passed away a few days beforehand. Since I returned to the UK and started to visit steam rallies, he had been a continual source of  information and encouragement.
An accomplished photographer, he was a keen supporter of the Steam Plough Club and many other similar organisations and he made his work freely available to them.

Rob and Yuehong  Dickinson