There are many who make fun of trainspotters. But they are a hardy breed! Take me, for example. The sun had come out and I was spending an hour or so in the garden this afternoon. Now, Skip Cottage is but a field away from the West Coast Main Line, and when I hear something going by, it is an instinctive reaction to look up and see what it is. And, over the years, I've got used to the regular services passing at specific times, both passenger and freight.
But this afternoon was different. It sounded different. I looked up and there was an A4 Pacific steam locomotive heading north!
Would it be a case of drop everything, grab keys and camera (with a quick check that the memory card was inside - caught once, learned from the mistake), jump in the car, and drive slowly and carefully after it? Now, I've been 'steam chasing' before, see here. A bit daft, really. So today I checked on the locomotive movements page of the brilliant and essential website Mainline Steam, and when I had ascertained that a stop had been scheduled at Beattock, only THEN did I jump in the car and drive slowly and carefully after the loco.
On a walk last year (see here) I had noted what would be a good location if ever I was looking to photograph a steam locomotive on the West Coast Line. That's where I headed, checking as I drove past Beattock that the engine and its support coaches were indeed in the passing loop there. They were.
By this time of course, I was so cold, I could hardly hold the camera! But, as I said above, trainspotters are hardy souls.
here. 60009 is scheduled on the SRPS 'Forth Circle' railtour on April 21 (see here), and both 60009 and 61994 are involved in the Railway Touring Company's 'Great Britain VI' (here) which gets to Scotland on April 23.
What can startle them? Sometimes it's a loud car or lorry passing; sometimes it's someone walking a dog. But the biggest panic is when a grey missile flashes round the edge of the cottage into the birds' feeding area. A sparrowhawk in attack mode! This one, above, had a successful outcome on yesterday's foray, and it stayed on the ground long enough for me to get this photo through the double glazing.
Photos © Skip Cottage