Train journeys in the Yorkshire Dales are wonderful and infectious. The scenery is breath-taking, the stations enchanting and the railways can be eccentric.
Our journey to Ribblehead on Wednesday was no exception. Setting off from Skipton we arrived at Settle station and that was it for over half an hour. A lightening bolt had taken out the signals somewhere up ahead and in the middle of nowhere. So, the lovely conductress told us to go stretch our legs, have a smoke or get a coffee in the café.
James went off, firstly for a coffee in the little café (which had comfy old leather sofas and linen table clothes and where you couldn’t have a latte or anything fancy like that because “I’ve only got a boiler”) How wonderful is that? He walked around a bit and found this beautiful signal box at the far end of the platform ………
…… and enjoyed the stunning views before the “all aboard” was called and we continued our journey.
The continuation of a travels was not to be for long though. The train came to a halt in the middle of the countryside and there we stayed for another half an hour or so. Much to the chagrin of our beloved conductress who couldn’t apologise enough. It was, again, that darned lightening bolt ruining things! However, we couldn’t really be bored, the scenery was more than enough to please anyway, and then we spotted something we could recognise winging it’s way through the narrow lanes of Yorkshire, soon to become someone’s pride and joy.
Eventually we got going again and this time it was for real. Most of the little station buildings are quite fantastic and would be run-of-the-mill stuff a hundred years ago but today they are priceless architectural treasures.
The fabulous scenery goes on mile after mile. Very “Emmerdale” a lot of it!
Eventually, our journey ended at Ribblehead where the platforms on each side of the rail have very little to do with each other. The Carlisle train stops quite a distance from the station buildings so you have to cross the tracks and walk!
From the station we could see what we’d travelled there for. The beautiful Ribblehead Viaduct. In the middle distance was the Station Inn which, before our walk to the viaduct and having been on the train much longer than planned, beckoned us in for a drink and some lunch.
The Inn has a “Bunk Barn” attached and it was lucky we didn’t want accommodation as they were full that day (as most days!). Miles from anywhere this hostelry is a favourite for walkers as an overnight stop. It also serves the most tasty of food and in proportions which hikers require!
The gents lavatory is called “the loo with a view” and quite rightly so – this is what you get!
Cosy surroundings and friendly staff made this little pub a real pleasure.
After a hearty late lunch we took a walk to see the viaduct close up. Wild and windswept moorland with marvellous limestone pavements set into the landscape.
As we walked and got closer the viaduct’s majestic presence got even more grand.
What can’t be seen from these pictures is the terrific force of the wind. Starting in Morecambe Bay as a breeze by the time it reaches this point it’s approaching gale force.
There are records which tell of goods being blown off railway trucks and plummeting to the ground.
Nature’s beauty is not just in the enormity of the landscape – there is equal beauty in the smaller things too.
And, of course, the charming stations and the terrific atmosphere of really being miles from anywhere is a great buzz.
Every inch of the station is well cared for and loved …….
…….and a friendly welcome when we popped into the waiting room / tea rooms.
The train journey back was equally as good as the earlier one with “Yorkshire” on both sides of the train again.
Returning back to our temporary home at Snaygill Boats we were greeted by the very bubbly and lovely Amy who runs the reception among many other things and who won’t let us pass without having a laugh and chinwag. Thanks Amy for making us so welcome and being so helpful – we will miss you when we leave!
The reason for “Chance’s” week moored up at Snaygill Boats was that we needed to return home for a couple of days.
Although any visit home is a bit hectic these days there’s always time to catch up with someone. This time it was friend Andy (who, fortuitously, had a spare evening from his busy schedule). With the evening being warm and still and a Friday there was no opposition to talking a couple of bottles of wine down to the beach and enjoying the last few hours of daylight.
It was a pleasure to catch up with Andy again - seen here in close embrace with James as they were perched with one arse cheek each on a slippery bit of wartime concrete! We had the beach completely to ourselves as is normal!
A very busy, five hour car journey on Saturday got us back to Yorkshire.