Local News

Great Family Fun: Deerness Vintage Rally 2023

By Mike Robertson

a man bends over a standing engine to adjust it
Image credit Mike Robertson

Having passed three score years and ten it’s depressing how often artefacts in museums and vintage rallies are not only familiar but I’ve often owned or used them.  So here we are at the annual Deerness Vintage Rally 2023 and there’s a car very much like one I used to own (except mine was yellow) in the days when it wasn’t regarded as an antique curiosity.  There was much more to see, and some of it older than me. 

two men stand gazing at an old tractor
Image credit Mike Robertson

It was a good day for it, bright and dry with enough breeze to keep the insects away.   The hall committee had laid on a sumptuous collection of sandwiches and cakes;  the play park with a bouncy castle courtesy of Orkney Inflatables kept the youngsters busy; and  the Orkney Traditional Music Project (OTMP) entertained those needing to take the weight off their feet for a while, although it kept those same feet tapping along with the music.  

a group of musicians on a flat bed truck playing fiddles accordions and key board, all ages
Image credit Mike Robertson

Thanks to Alan Scott for providing the field and organising the display.  I counted 20 tractors lined up at the bottom of the field, some of them with the original ‘BS’ number plates. (For the uninitiated that’s not a euphemism.)    There was also over a dozen cars, including a magnificent Lagonda.   This year there was also a collection of outboard motors.   The static engines, dating back to the days before silencers, were the noisiest.   A Stuart engine was reluctant to start but once it got going it powered the magic tap.  As a youngster it took me years to work out how that was done. 

What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon for the whole family, from babes in arms to possibly Deerness’s oldest resident who at 97 tapped her feet to the OTMP’s music.  See you all again next year.

a smiling old lady
Mattie Nelson, probably the oldest resident in Deerness Image credit Mike Robertson

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