Craven Council's Leader, Cllr Donny Whaites (centre in the group below) asked us ages ago if he could bring along his counterparts from all over York and North Yorkshire - in other words the chain gang. Today was the day. I have never seen so much gold and big black cars at Settle Station before.
The S&C trolley staff plied them with coffee. They visited the signal box, pulled the levers and rang the bells. Then they toured the water tower before gliding off to the Craven Arms for lunch.
click to enlarge images
Wild horses will not drag from me what I said to the assembled group on the water tower steps to get them to smile.
They were a jolly bunch of people who seemed appreciative. We were really quite chuffed that given the entire district to pick from, Donny Whaites chose Settle Station, its signal box and water tower as the things he wanted to show off.
What IS the collective noun for Council Leaders incidentally?
Our rooftop weather station has been unduly pessimistic this perfect Spring day. Despite a clear blue sky it was showing rain today. Not a lot but enough to produce a reaction from a follower via MyLocalWeather.
When rain falls it is collected in a funnel from which it drips onto a sensor a bit like a see-saw. The hole at the bottom of the funnel is quite small and therefore vulnerable to blockage, despite a filter / grid above it.
A while ago it was collared doves building a nest. Not this time though; it was gunge in the hole partly blocking it and allowing a drip to come through from time to time. Above the blockage was a couple of inches of water.
The beauty of the Settle Weather Station being on the water tower is that it is high enough up to get the weather but it is easily accessible without risk. That is more than could be said for the identical apparatus at Ribblehead Weather Station which used to be strapped to a chimney on the railway station roof. Ribblehead Station roof is no fun when it is blowing a gale and the battery needs changing. We recently moved it to nearer ground level, in Network Rail's secure yard.
It is often interesting to compare the real time readings of Settle and Ribblehead weather stations. It makes Settle's weather seem comparatively er, settled.
These quirky signs have been features of Settle station for at least four, maybe five decades. They have been much photographed too. Almost every book about the Settle-Carlisle line has featured them. They had become dilapidated and frankly unsightly. They needed to be restored and volunteer joiner Ged Pinder jumped at the job.
Here are the new signs, now made in hardwood and marine ply. The faded picture of Settle town hall has been replaced with a glorious Dales scene, courtesy of Rachel Griffiths and ImageRail.
Quirky or not, countless numbers of people have posed in front of the arrows for souvenir photographs.
Altogether a splendid effort by FoSCL and its volunteers.
The only sour note came when the remains of the old signs were taken to the council tip to re-cycle the wood responsibly. They were rejected as they 'came from the station and are classed as trade waste'.
This morning I was returning to the water tower via the station drive gate. There was a lady taking a photograph of the tower. She told me in a 'meaningful' Yorkshire accent that she had seen an article about it in the Yorkshire Post. She asked me if I lived in the water tower and I admitted that I did. By now she had been joined by her husband.
To my surprise she said to me "Are you local?"
Her husband replied on my behalf, "He's just told you, he lives here".
She glared at him and retorted, "Aye. But that doesn't mean he's local."
Here is a jolly nice picture of our coal truck taken a day or two ago by Jan Fialkowski.
click image to enlarge
I hope our friends from The Strathspey Railway at Aviemore approve. The paint job on the wheels and so on will be done this summer. The wagon continues to be something of a Settle talking point and I am often asked "What's next?" Good question.
No, we haven't elected a Pope. This is the chimney of our newly fitted roof room stove on its first day of action. It is deliberately set back far from the edge of the roof room roof so that it is invisible from many perspectives of the tower from ground level.
And here is the very neatly installed stove and inner flue pipe. HETAS installer Richard McGeoch fitted it in full accordance with building regulations. As Settle's former fire chief he has knowledge of the consequences of badly fitted stoves. The embarrassment quotient if our roof room caught fire would be high.
The stove is small - just 4kw but it heats the otherwise cold roof room magnificently. We knew it would from experience of these little stoves on canal boats. We have found we have had to open all doors and windows on canal boats in the bitterest of winter weather so knew it would deal with the roof room. Besides that, 4kw is the maximum output you can have without recourse to fixed ventilation to feed the fire.
Today has been dull and dry but when it blows and snows this will make the roof room really cosy.
The water tower has been designed to be as green as an old building can be - rainwater harvesting, high insulation, solar panels, heat recovery ventilation and so on. All that gives a certain satisfaction that we are doing our bit for the planet. Why then the solid fuel stove? Besides being psychologically warmer than the electric devices that have heated the roof room so far (some days assisted by the sun when shining) the roof room is very cold in winter, perched on top of a tower and heavily insulated from the floors below it.
The solid fuel stove also makes us reasonably independent, in extremis, from the politics of energy. Unlikely but possible the Russians COULD turn off the gas. The electricity supply is vulnerable short term to outages and longer term to rationing. Then where would we be? Cold in winter! Everybody should think about alternative sources of energy - heating especially.
for a super video of the Cathedrals Express going through Settle late yesterday morning hauled by the locomotive Galatea. By the looks of it the film was taken from the top of Castlebergh.
Our water tower appears about 1 minute in to the video and you can see that we get quite a grandstand view of the trains.
The video also shows very well how the railway marched mercilessly through Settle when built. Not all the citizens of Settle approved - a stance still taken by some today!
The engine sounds to be pulling well on the uphill gradient but it still has about 14 miles of 1 in 100 to go before Blea Moor. I understand that when passing Selside (about half way up the hill) it was struggling.
Here is the same train, same day - just a bit closer-up! :
Somehow today's tin box apologies for trains don't quite have it do they?