Sunday, August 21, 2011

BOGOF at the Citadel

I am usually happy enough with one steam locomotive at a time, but yesterday there was double pleasure with two Black Fives at Carlisle's Citadel Station.

First in was 45305, LMS Stanier Class 5 4-6-0 No. 5305 (British Railways no. 45305) which was built by Armstrong-Whitworth of Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1936. She spent most of her life based in North-West England. 45305 survived to the last month of steam on British Railways, August 1968. Life in preservation is described here.

Yesterday, 45305 was pulling The Railway Touring Company's Cumbrian Mountain Express - Liverpool-Shap-Carlisle-Settle-Liverpool.

It was an opportunity to spend time with old friends, such as Pamela, not to mention Patricia, Julia, Christina, Victoria, Diana and Florence. It's the way to travel.

There's always a lot to watch. The locomotive parks the carriages, then runs round through the station and gets turned round for the return trip. It picks up the carriages again ...

... and yesterday loaded the passengers at Platform 4, before setting off on the return leg.

Meantime, Black 5 44932 was a replacement yesterday for 46115 Scots Guardsman on The Railway Touring Company's The Waverley excursion York-Settle-Carlisle and return. Double fun!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

On the Annandale Way

What with all the work on the house, and garden, this summer, I've had little time to get out walking. Yesterday was beautiful though, and with no steam trains near at hand to go and photograph, I took the opportunity for a wee walk.

I've talked about the Annandale Way before, see here, and here and here. Yesterday I explored a short stretch south of St Ann's.

The Way here traverses pleasant farmland.......

.... and is not much travelled. Just head across the field towards the gate in the distance. It defeated my photographic skill, but - even though it was early afternoon - I was surrounded by lots of young housemartins flying all round my head as I walked across the field. Quite magic.

I first encountered the sticky seedheads of burrdock in the 1950s, on walks with my uncle and dog (Gyp) on the outskirts of Dumbarton. I've discovered today on the internet that it was around that time that Swiss engineer George de Mestral was inspired by the burrs sticking to his clothes, and even his own hunting dog, to 'invent' fabric loop and hook fasteners, aka Velcro. And you can read all you need to know about this here!

The Web is a wonderful thing, unbelievable to think it is barely twenty years old.

Lots of old oaks and beech trees in Annandale, looking resplendent at this time of year.

Many trees in the area suffered in last month's storms. This old beech has lost a limb, but is fighting on. I almost wanted to give it a hug!

The local inhabitants were curious to see who was invading their privacy yesterday!

Photos © Skip Cottage

Friday, August 05, 2011

Being busy

Every year I find space for a container or two of Livingstone daisies. Rarely do I see them smiling like this, but it does make the effort worthwhile when the sun does shine!

Usually though - through rain and cloudy skies - the flowers don't open.

The garden is petty lush as we reach August. Unfortunately much of the growth is weeds, and since I've been very busy inside, I'll not show any other pics of what it looks like!

I did spend a day in the Yorkshire Dales recently. Here is the proof - on a walk above Hardraw, near Hawes.

I was visiting my friend Brian Alderman, now resident in the Dales and here practising for the Burtersett Show with a neighbour! It may not be curling, but it is an equally frustrating pastime! You have to get the ping pong balls into the cans.

Brian has painted this outdoor curling scene for me. Redecoration of Skip after last December's disaster is coming on, sufficiently to begin getting things on the walls again, and this painting has pride of place. (Brian has a website here, and his contact details are therein, should you fancy commissioning your own unique painting)

I've not had a lot of time for trainspotting.

But here was Black 5 (LMS Class 5MT 4-6-0) no 44932 pulling the Fellsman excursion last Wednesday, from Lancaster over the Carlisle-Settle line.

Some 842 of these locomotives were built, and eighteen have survived in preservation. I was interested to note that 44932 was built at the Horwich Works, near Bolton, in 1946, the only survivor of the 120 built there.

The log train from Kingmoor to Chirk passes the Black 5 standing on Platform 3 at Carlisle.

These steam excursions to Carlisle certainly bring lots of visitors to the town. The Fellsman on Wednesday had a full complement of some 350 passengers.

Photos © Skip Cottage