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Saturday, 27 May 2017

A Duchess Through Settle today

This magnificent picture by former Dalesman editor Paul Jackson shows Duchess of Sutherland heading north at the Hoffman kiln at Langcliffe, near Settle, this morning. She was hauling a Statesman rail tour from Norwich to Carlisle and return today. I have just seen her whooooosh through Settle on her return southbound at 1833. I think it is around midnight that the train gets back to Norwich but what a day the passengers will have had. It is such a relief to see steam trains speeding through Settle again, all the way to Carlisle and further north too.

This is how the Duchesses looked back in their day:

Matter of opinion of course but I do not think they were half as elegant as the Gresley equivalents:


This afternoon, there was thunder and lightning and it rained. 20.6mm recorded by our rooftop weather station.
Not quite an inch of rain but nearly double the rainfall we had in the entire month of April and very, very welcome.

April in the UK is normally a wet month but not this year. Further evidence, if needed, that the World is going mad.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Green and Pleasant?

As the nation wakes up to the terrible happenings in Manchester overnight we shall all be coming to terms with our private thoughts and emotions.

What if?

These things happen but nowadays everybody is becoming personally involved. Social media is saturated with an eerie mix of personal anxiety - "has anybody seen our daughter (See photo) who is not answering her phone?" right through to the routine, tinged with tragedy "the 0926 train from Manchester Victoria to Altrincham is cancelled due to an earlier police incident".

It is human nature to look for comfort elsewhere at times like these and to wonder how to help. To feel guilty perhaps that you were not there. The politicians and others trot out the inevitable cliche of 'Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured and the families of the deceased'. Expected but unlikely. There are things to be done - urgently. My thoughts are with the people in the emergency services whose lives will be preoccupied for a while dealing with the aftermath against the near certainty that their decisions, right or wrong, will be scrutinised for ever more.

What if?

Spare a thought for the police officers, nurses, and many others whose lives will be torn apart as they tackle things that in their hearts of hearts they hoped would never come their way.

Life goes on though. This image of Ribblehead this morning perhaps provides some perspective in a troubled world.

click to enlarge

What if?

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Who Needs Wires?

One of the drawbacks of the S&C is that it is not electrified - unlike an increasingly high proportion of the UKs railway network. This means problems for diversions especially. Things are changing though.

Today saw a very long passenger train being hauled over the S&C by a bi-mode electric locomotive with a diesel engine too. The sight was nicely captured by the Kirkby Stephen RailCam as the Class 88 locomotive flaunted its electric pantograph pick-ups retracted whilst under diesel power.

click to enlarge

And at Ribblehead:


Sorry about the gap in postings for the last ten days but we have been away on our first holiday for three years, she says. Switzerland, with Great Railway Journeys. Here's some evidence:

Monday, 8 May 2017

Paulownia Prospers

Way back last August I reported that we had been given a paulownia plant by Ribblehead viaduct engineer Tony Freschini. I know that at least two followers were concerned that it looked like a dead twig when all of its leaves fell off soon afterwards. I must say it did look a bit that way but paulownia is a deciduous plant - well tree actually - with enormous leaves, without which it looks very dead.

I am pleased to report that after a winter inside the tank roof it is sprouting away like mad:

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Rooftop Gardens Revamped

The insides of the water tank have been problematic from the start. What colour should they be? What is the best use for the sunken parts to the east side which were a planning requirement to deter us from overlooking the neighbouring gardens?

On the matter of colour we have tried dark green, which looked er, dark. Then rust red which looked er, rusty. Daughter Lorna has better taste than at least one of her parents so she was consulted about colour - room by room and the inside of the tank. Her recommendations were accepted in full, in accordance with family tradition and bitter experience. The actual colour changes are being adopted from the top down, starting with the insides of the tank - which are now light grey - and by Jove it works. I hope you agree:

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Concorde Over Ribblehead

This remarkable photograph is circulating on social media. It is in fact a lenticular Helm cloud in the uncanny shape of a Concorde aircraft with the Ribblehead viaduct in the background. There has been a spate of these clouds in this area in the last day or so. They are particularly likely in this part of Cumbria and North Yorkshire, especially when there is a north easterly wind, known as the Helm Wind.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Our Liftshaft - Quite a Test of Vision

From the ground floor the view up our lift shaft is quite impressive but intimidatingly boring perhaps:

To add interest to the journey we have stuck a little conversation piece to the inside top of the shaft:

Monday, 1 May 2017

A Staggeringly Beautiful Landscape

Our (FoSCL's) four web cameras along the Leeds-Settle-Carlisle line display live images worldwide and among the most popular cameras is the one that overlooks the Ribblehead Viaduct, mounted on the Stationmaster's House at Ribblehead station. Not just live pictures but hourly stills too, plus the motion activated pictures as trains pass. Railcam's dedicated volunteers weed these images to avoid a build-up of repetitive monotony but they leave for posterity the more interesting ones.

I have just stumbled across this amazing image from late March this year which escaped my notice at the time:

click to enlarge

It well illustrates the way the weather can change, for better or worse, in the high Pennines. And for comparison: