Last weekend was Narrow Gauge South, held at Sparshotl, Winchester. I was helping my friend Martin Collins with his layout, Llandecwyn. It's very much Ffestiniog inspired, though set in the next valley south, and features slate wharves, and gravity trains, with Double-Fairlie, small Hunslet and de Winton locos.
It's not yet finished, and being primarily a home layout it isn't an ideal shape for exhibitions, but the quality of the scenery and stock is superb.
As usual the show is scattered through a number of class-rooms, which disguises it's size, as they contained nearly 30 NG layouts, as well as several specialist traders (and both 009 and 7mm NG society sales stands). The event hosted the 009 Society AGM, but I didn't go preferring to play trains and look at the layouts (it's the quietest part of the day!). With such a selection it's tricky to pick highlights, but I do love the character and finely modelled stock of Tim Ellis' tiny Grindley Brook Wharf.
Chris O'Donohughe's Compass Point is another small layout packed full of detail, and atmosphere. And a little humour too.
This was the last showing of Isle Ornsay for my friend Tom Dauben, even though it is not quite finished the scenery modelling is quite superb, but the layout has now been sold. Hopefully it will continue to be exhibited.
However there was undoubtedly one layout of the show for me. I've been a fan of Ted Polet's Craigcorrie an Dunalistair - a slice of Scotland built in Holland - since I came across it in the Peco book of Narrow Gauge which I found in the Library when I was 11. This was the first time I've seen Dunalistair, and the last time Ted was showing it, so it was a real privilege.
The modelling is to a high standard, but it is the cohesive nature of the layout (of which this is just a small part) with a fictional history, and a fleet of stock to match, that makes it a convincing example of freelance modelling, and such a popular model too. The harbour at Dunalistair is a particular feature, and as Ted spent many years at sea, it is superbly modelled.
To see more photos - of Dunalistair and the rest of the show - click here.