Here's a photo of Awngate set up at Narrow Gauge South. The set-up is reasonably straightforward: assemble two trestles and beams between them, place layout on top and push in fiddle yard, attach leads and power up! There are advantages to such a simple layout, not least being packed up and driving off just 25 minutes after the show ended...
Anyway the day went well, everything worked as it should apart from some reluctant couplings and the new magnets being rather too powerful it seems! Anyway, more on that another time. Many thanks to Simon Wilson for assisting - operation gets tedious after an hour or so, so it is good to alternate, and we both had time to see the rest of the show too in between "shifts". And what an excellent show it was.
Right opposite us was a complete contrast in terms of size and subject, even though it is also 009 Bron Hebog is a model of Beddgellert on the WHR as it is today. Even incomplete it was impressive, and when it is finished to full depth (three times it's current scenic depth) it will achieve the "Railway in the landscape" look. The stock is also prototypical and expertly modelled by Rob Waller - see more on his blog here
It was also good to see Isle Ornsay by Tom Dauben, even at this early stage of construction it is clear to see it will be a superb layout when finished. I have been following progress so far on Tom's website
and the NGRM forum, and he is building the layout to a very high standard. In particular his portrayal of coastal rocks and stone sea-walls from plaster casting promises to be very realistic. Tom has researched the proposed narrow gauge line accross the Isle of Skye and built up a false "history" of the line assuming it was in fact built. It was this that earned him a Certificate of Merit award at the show.
Ryedown Lane, by Pat Collins, is a super little layout I have been following on the NGRM forum. It is based on Colonel Stevens practice, and Pat has got the style of the structures and the atmosphere spot-on. The layout is a similar size to Awngate, but has a spacious rural feel so feels quite different.
I'd seen Castle Wharf Kendal (by Ian Kirkwood) in the 009 News, and really admired it's character, so it was nice to see it for real. It was surprisingly compact, something many people say of Awngate, but like Awngate the urban surroundings help frame the railway giving justification for the cramped layout.
Nettlecombe by John and Jane Jacobs is famous for it's superb buildings and scenery, so no apologies for there being no trains in this picture! It was the first time I had seen the layout but was amazed by not just the lovely buildings and detail, but the extent of the scene. Not just a handful of cottages, but a whole village...
St Braydon by the Rutherford Appleton Laboratories MRC was a huge and impressive 7mm scale layout based in Cornwall. The buildings and scenery were beautifully modelled and instantly recognisable as Cornwall, the detail was nicely observed, and the operation and stock interesting, yet it had a sense of fun too and I'm sure it is popular with kids and families.
I could go on, as there were many more excellent layouts, but this post is long enough as it is so I'll leave you with those appetisers, and point you on to the rest of the photos here