Saturday morning, Lockerbie station. The train for Edinburgh (one of First TransPennine Express's new Class 350 EMUs, introduced last year) is just leaving, and I'm waiting for my ride into Carlisle (on one of the older Class 185 DMUs, which are still used on occasion on the West Coast Mainline service).
I wasn't the only one making a special trip to the Citadel Station.
It was my first 'steam fix' of the year, the Railway Touring Company's 'Winter Cumbrian Mountain Express', from Manchester to Carlisle via Shap, and return via Settle.
The railtour arrived in the city ahead of time - I believe that delays south of Manchester had meant that the steam had the West Coast Main to itself! But there was just a tinge of disappointment for us all. It should have been a steam double header providing the power, but 45690 Leander failed its 'fitness to run' examination, and so the railtour was pulled by just one steam locomotive, with a diesel on the back.
'Black 5' No 45407 'The Lancashire Fusilier' was doing all the hard work.
The sun had come out, and the locomotive is ready for the Carlisle-Settle line.
The sounds and smell - and excitement - as 45407 pulls away.
There are a number of YouTube videos of the railtour, filmed by others along the route. I particularly liked this one, especially of the train passing through Lancaster. I'm also an 'extra' on the platform at Carlisle - can you spot me?
My little walks around Wamphray, where I live, often take me along what I call the 'back road'. This photo is looking north from the roadside. On the left is Wamphraymoor Plantation, a favourite place, which lies between the back road and the railway. There is a smashing wee walk through the trees.
You can access the wood at a number or different spots.
Recently though, I was rather surprised to find that our local walk had achieved some sort of national significance, with signs posted at either end. My first reaction was to get out the angle grinder and indulge in a bit of grumpy old man vandalism and rid the area of such monstrous intrusions. Why is our local council wasting our money on such useless things, obviously designed for those visitors who are too mean to buy a map?
But wait, am I being too hasty? See later.
However, now that one of my favourite local haunts has been outed, I feel able to post some photos.
It's not a place to wander in high winds, that's for sure!
The trees in the centre of the wood were extracted some years ago, but those around the perimeter were left. As you can see, the path is quite well used.
The stumps remain, but are getting lost as the new planted trees are growing away.
Blown over, but still clinging to life!
This little wood has more moods than I do!
This is the line of the 'Core Path 332'. Now I understand. It's all a plan to depopulate Dumfries and Galloway. Follow the path and disappear into the bog, never to surface again!
There used to be red squirrels. Maybe there still is. My only encounters with wildlife today was an angry pheasant!
I asked a 'friend' about the signs. "You know, Bob," he said, "maybe the Council has put up the signs to help YOU find the start point of the walk in your dotage!"
I mentioned the railway. The edge of the wood is a great place to do a bit of trainspotting! Here's a Pendolino, with a bit missing, heading north past, on the left, where Wamphray Staion used to be!
Wamphray Station? Yes indeed. Here's what it was like. It opened in 1847 and closed in 1960. Read about it here.
And another. The main station building still exists, and is a private house.