Monday, 24 August 2009

James May and the Tarka-Hornby Train

Today was the day James May had chosen to try and break the world record for the longest model railway with a Hornby train track running from Barnstaple to Bideford along the Tarka Trail - 10 miles. Adrienne managed to get onto a team and reported to Barnstaple train station at 7.30 this morning. It chucked it down with rain until about 10.30, then turned into drizzle on and off for about another hour. They carried on regardless! Caitlin, Ellie and I got there during the last downpour, which lasted only about five minutes, then the sun came out. We found Adrienne under the road bridge just outside the station having laid her 100 metre track and been up and down the Trail helping others. So this was the only photo I got of her involvement in the attempt.

We walked on down towards Fremington Quay and passed James May coming back the other way. This is him with a 'Why-is-that-stupid-woman-pointing-a-camera' look on his face.

Along the way there were lots of camera crews testing the track and filming fake-cut-in bits for the TV show. There were also lots of gaps in the track which was a bit worrying but a nice scout man told me there was a technical crew coming along cutting bits of track to fit in the gaps, which were inevitable when you had lots of teams of people starting and finishing thier bits in different places.

When we got to Fremington Quay it was 1.30 and time for lunch. They were due to set the first train off at 1.00, which, travelling at 3mph, should have reached us by 2.00. So we waited... and waited... and waited.

My friend Julie, arrived and the girls were distracted by playing with the dog, taking him for walking and accidentally feeding him ice cream. Every now and then some one from the TV company would come along and say things like, 'It'll be here in 30 mins' or 'Its only 10 mins away' Ha! Then we heard stories like: the power pack blew up, someone stole some of the track, the train broke.

Eventually James May appeared on his bike, then disappeared again behind the bike shed! What was that all about? The crowd moved onto the grass verge next to the concrete bit of the Tarka Trail and settled down to wait some more. James reappeared.

He looked... We looked... Surely its got to be here in a minute?

YES!!! There it is, at 6.30 in the evening, tiny little train chugging along its tiny little track. I have no idea if it made it all the way to Bideford. We went home shortly after this, but for all I know, its going still!


  1. Great to see on BBC2 today :)

  2. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  3. Thats great! Thanks. Please keep visiting, I shall try to keep being entertaining!