Sunday, June 27, 2010

Moffat Car Rally

Day 1 of the Moffat Car Rally, the biggest classic car event in Scotland. Yesterday saw some of the 800 or so entries assemble prior to a run in the countryside north of Moffat.

Rare to see these days, I was tickled to find this Vauxhall Victor 101 estate. This was my car when I had a holiday job as a sales rep in 1968!

Quite a spectrum of cars were on show yesterday.

The cars line up on the main street in Moffat before the run.

It was a beautiful day for the run up to St Mary's Loch and over to Tweedsmuir past the Megget and Talla reservoirs.

One of these days I might reveal why I have a soft spot for the Reliant Scimitar!

But the Sunbeam Talbot Mark 3 was undoubtedly the most fun car I have ever owned (1968-69). It gives me quite a thrill to see beautifully presented examples such as this still gracing the roads!

Pics © Skip Cottage

Friday, June 25, 2010

Moving pictures

As those who follow my blogs will know, I enjoy taking photographs and they certainly add something more to my blog posts alongside the words. A still photo, such as that of Tornado above, is all very well. But there's something missing from the experience of being at the Citadel Station in Carlisle yesterday. For a while now, I've been wondering how easy it would be to add some 'moving pictures' to my posts. Yes, I've occasionally embedded someone else's YouTube video in a post, see for example Kendel Carson here.

But tonight is a first. This is the first time I've taken the video myself, and the first time I've completed an iMovie project. And it's the first time I've ever uploaded a vid to YouTube. Here is the result of my efforts. And its embedded below, although it's bigger (and better) if you follow the YouTube link. Apologies for what is very much an amateur production, but this has been my first step on a new road, and I've many skills to learn. Nothing like a challenge, though! Feedback appreciated.

Check out another enthusiast's great video of Tornado on the main line yesterday here.

Pic of Tornado © Skip Cottage

Tornado Watch 2

The sign says, "Passing trains cause air turbulence!" Yes indeed. There was even a Tornado at Oxenholme yesterday.

Always interesting to watch the comings and goings on the West Coast Main Line.

Here it comes.

Going at speed, as it prepares for the run up Shap.

Tornado is so impressive when one gets the chance to see it passing so close and working hard.

Camera shake with excitement!

The locomotive was pulling The Border Raider railtour yesterday between Crewe and Carlisle, and return via Settle. Here 60163 rests at Carlisle.

What an impressive locomotive. Read all about it here.

A couple of hours later, Carlisle's economy having benefitted in the interim, the train is ready to depart south.

Pics © Skip Cottage

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chasing Tornado

A1 Pacific Tornado had an interesting job to do today! Here is the locomotive sliding through Thirsk station.

In a genius of a public relations idea, the National Railway Museum used the new steam loco (see here) to haul the famous Mallard from the main museum at York, to its 'annex' at Shildon. Thousands turned out to watch!

Here the two locomotives shunt into a siding before entering the Shildon musem.

Mallard gets some help to be pushed into position. It will be a big attraction at Shildon, while renovations are made to the main hall at York. All about Mallard is here.

The museum authorities must have been pleased with the turnout. We were all kept back while the locomotives were shunted into place. Then, after the television and other official photographers got some time to get up close and personal, we were all allowed an intimate experience! Then it was back behind the barriers as Tornado, now watered, headed back south.

The locomotive was not due back to Crewe until the early hours of the morning, with a quick turnaround in prospect, before pulling a railtour tomorrow.

Favourite pic of the day, as cheering children get a great response from the cab!

Photos © Skip Cottage

Monday, June 21, 2010

Trucks, big trucks

It was the 14th Dumfries Truck and Bus Show yesterday, organised by the Dumfries Transport Preservation Group. This is Frankie Boy's big Mack.

The worrying thing for me is that I remember quite clearly when some of these were common sights on our roads.

Taking a tractor for a ride!

It was a beautiful day for the show.

I'm not really a truck enthusiast, but what a great display!

Modern vehicles were also on view.

Lochmaben Transport's timber lorry, on the right, was beautifully presented. I think even the logs had been washed and polished for the show!

There was only one thing missing from yesterday's show - Kendel Carson. If you don't know what I'm talking about, have a listen!

A country music classic! Watch in a larger size, here.

Talking of classics, my main reasoning for visiting was to see the classic cars. There was a small display. Nice!

I got really excited to see these three old Rover P4s.

It brought back memories to be so close to this Rover 60. You see, I owned one like it. Real class. It was my second car when I was a student at University. It was probably best described then as an 'old banger' (it was some twelve years old in 1968), but I loved the leather, the freewheel, and the reserve fuel tank. It had a two litre engine. Sadly someone ran into the back of it when it was parked outside my house, and wrote it off. There is lots of information on all the Rover P4 models here.

Photos © Skip Cottage

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ferry update

In January I posted a little about the Renfrew Ferry which was then facing withdrawal (see here). The Renfrew Rose and Yoker Swan no longer ply across the river. SPT's Renfrew to Yoker Ferry sailed for the last time on Wednesday, March 31, 2010. There are pics of the final crossing here.

I wondered what was in place now, and yesterday I found myself driving along the M8, so made a little detour to find out.

The crossing is now being worked by this little ferry, seen here on the Yoker side, dominated by the huge slipway.

The service is operated by Clydelink, an associate company of Silvers Marine (UK) Ltd.

Island Trader is an aluminium 'landing craft' style of Robust Boat.

The company have plans to extend their services in the upper reaches of the Clyde, perhaps even linking Braehead and the new transport museum when it opens next year.

Pics © Skip Cottage

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Mystery of Garwaldshiels

There really shouldn't be a beach here! My walk yesterday to do some Geographing in the headwaters of the Black Esk, took me past the reservoir of the same name. When I was here a year or so ago (see here), the reservoir was full. It certainly is not in June 2010, reflecting just how dry it has been in the past months.

It is a pretty place though, with fishing for brown trout.

The reservoir dates from 1962, and levels must fluctuate, to see these dead trees standing at its head.

A structure, probably a dry stane dyke, just peaks above the surface of the water. This caused me to wonder just what had been flooded when the dam was built and the reservoir established. Sure enough, there used to be a farm, Blackeskhead, on the river hereabouts.

On the principle that annual levels of rainfall will average out over the months ahead, I think I should start building my ark now!

However, one of the aims of yesterday's walk was to investigate further what I'm calling 'the mystery of Garwaldshiels'. This little bridge over the Black Esk upriver from the reservoir, made from two metal beams and a whole load of used railway sleepers, leads to an area on my OS 1:25,000 map showing a habitation called Garwaldshiels.

The 'mystery' is that there's nothing there! On old maps, further up the Black Esk, there is also a 'Garwaldshiels'. On newer maps this is what is now known as 'Old Garwaldshields', which I've visited before, see here. But what happened to this 'new' Garwaldshiels? More research is needed.

To my eye, I could see nothing to suggest the foundations of a house. But there is certainly evidence of habitation, daffodils, other bulbs, and this patch of rhubarb!

This little pool, where the Black Esk meets up with the White Hope Burn, was a fine place for an afternoon break!

Pics © Skip Cottage

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Donkeys and other encounters

Earlier this week I found myself thinking of a grand prestigious project which I would love to see come to fruition. My hopes are not shared by everyone. Some think it is just not required, pointless. The cost has grown, compared with original projections. And recently the whole project has run into a further major setback.

No, I wasn't thinking about Kinross and the proposed NCA! I was dreaming about the plans to bring trams back to Edinburgh.

Now, like many of my generation, tramcars played an important part in my formative years. I get quite nostalgic thinking about them. When the Reform Curling Club went to Latvia last year, many of us got rather excited about Riga's trams!

I decided I needed a tram 'fix'!

So where better to go than Blackpool, the city celebrating its 125th year of trams in 2010. There's an introduction to Blackpool tramway here.

Yesterday, the full tram route was not operational. Cleveleys to the Pleasure Beach was the extent of the run.

For part of the way the trams run on a dedicated trackway. Here cars number 641 and 642 pass each other. These are Centenary cars, single-deck, one-man operated, built by East Lancs between 1984-8. These are the most modern of Blackpool's varied fleet of some 76 cars.

Here's another (no 645) just north of Bispham.

I wonder if there were ever trams on New York's avenue of the same name?

Never mind the modern ones, the tram on the left is what I really remember!

It's one of the famous illuminated trams, here relegated yesterday for driver training duties. The various types of Blackpool trams are illustrated here. Sadly yesterday there were no 'Boats' or 'Balloons' running.

Actually it is possible to have 'driver experience' courses, see here.

Here's another tram being used for driver training yesterday. I just loved the L plates!

And here's another, waiting for the lights to change at Cleveleys. No 626 is an example of a single-deck car built by Brush in 1937. The header board says, "PRIVATE, to hire telephone ......"

There's a loop of track opposite the Pleasure Beach, so the trams were just running round to face back in the direction of the town centre and north to Cleveleys. There, the driver moved to the cab on the rear of the tram and drove it in the reverse direction.

There are lots of photos of Blackpool trams in the galleries here. And the Anniversary Week will be from Thursday, September 23, to Wednesday, September 29.

I once spent a day with friends a LONG time ago, riding all the rollercoasters (I seem to remember five of them) multiple times. And no, I wasn't tempted to do that again yesterday!

The weather wasn't at its best yesterday, not that it really mattered. The sands looked great and Blackpool Borough Council is putting a lot of money into improving the promenade. The Golden Mile hasn't changed a lot from how I remember it though. Except that I didn't see one 'Kiss me quick' hat.

Some of my earliest memories as a child are of donkey rides on the beach. See nostalgia! Wallow, wallow.

Photos © Skip Cottage