FULL STEAM AHEAD
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It's good to know that the spirit of adventure is still alive and kicking in this green and pleasant land. Four intrepid chaps; Gareth Jones. his son lan, and friends Roger and Neil Bishop, recently completed the 974-mile journey from John O'Groats to Land's End in a 63-year-old Sentinel DC Tractor boasting a top speed of 35mph.
Sporting the red and white livery of Bishop &Sons, the vehicle was one of the final three of 10 Sentinel wagons to make the journey. It took them two weeks to complete the trip and when they crossed the finishing line it was to a spontaneous chorus of the Dad's Army theme tune bellowed out by fellow competitors. Prior to being fully restored in 1995 the steam wagon had been a wood carrier with a hydraulic crane to uproot trees. To make sure it was fit for the epic journey the lads spent all their spare time getting the wagon into tip-top condition.
The Sentinel gets through a hundred weight of coal every 10 miles, so many hours were spent in packing mountains of the fuel into sacks. It also has a voracious thirst and consumes 350 gallons of water every few miles, which it must have if its engine is not to explode. When it was all over it was time to return the Sentinel to its Dorking home.