Tuesday, January 31, 2017

On the Great Central Railway

The sight of an approaching steam locomotive continues to thrill!

And that was why I ventured down to Loughborough last weekend to spend a day at the Great Central Railway's Winter Gala. There were lots of locomotives in steam. Here is 0-6-0 Maunsell Q Class No 30541, built in 1939, and visiting from the Bluebell Railway, see here. Pic taken at Rothley station.

Here's the Q again.

The GCR's LMS 'Black Five' No 45305 with a goods set at Loughborough. Locomotive details here.

BR Standard Class 9F 2-10-0 No 92214 reverses back at Loughborough to take on water. The locomotive story is here.

It's not just the locomotives which are of interest. A 'primitive' toilet is maintained at Rothley. I am not the first to wonder just what was meant by the sign: 'ALBONOIDS - The Best Aperient for ADULTS'. Back in the day, these laxative tablets were apparently available in twopenny, sixpenny and one shilling tins! I should say that I'm just off the first train of the day from Quorn, so that's why there's no people in view. It got much much busier as the day went on.

I rather like Rothley station with the fantastic Charnwood Forest Garden Railway nearby, see here

Despite the rain the model railway was running flawlessly!

The signal box at Rothley.

Rothley is a great place to appreciate the locomotives. This is King Arthur Class 4-6-0 No 30777 'Sir Lamiel' which was built in June 1925 at the North British Locomotive Works in Glasgow. More here.

 I encountered this Class 101 DMU at Rothley, see here.

At Loughborough there was opportunity to see round the shed where restoration of BR Standard Class 5 4-6-0 No 73156 is nearing completion, see here.

West Country Class 4-6-2 Pacific No 34039 'Boscastle' is in the process of a major overhaul. Here are the frames. Story here.

Here is LMS Class 3F 0-6-0T No 47406 being prepared for the day's action. I do love a 'Jinty'!

I met many interesting people during my day on the GCR. Here's a selfie with the station master at Leicester North!

I was waiting for my last ride of the day, behind BR Class 2 2-6-0 No 78018, see here.

Saturday was my second visit to the GCR. I enjoyed a visit back in 2013, see here. And my second visit was no less enjoyable. Big crowds of course, and the weather was a bit iffy - but, for January, it could have been worse. The Great Central Railway has lots of plans for the future - a link to the line running north from Loughborough, and a new museum. Hopefully these plans will come to fruition.

Photos © Skip Cottage

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

East of Durisdeer

The village of Durisdeer, just off the A702 not far from Thornhill, was my starting point for a short walk on January 2, 2017.

Nothing too strenuous - it's been a while since I ventured far from Skip, and this was straightforward walking.

Did I say it was a cold, frosty morning?

It didn't take me long to reach my destination - Kettleton Byre bothy.

Kettleton Byre is maintained by the Mountain Bothies Association. I found it in good clean condition, and obviously well looked after.

It's a small bothy, with just the one room. Home from home!

It's always fun to look through the bothy book, and see who's been there.

The bench outside the bothy door was perfect for lunch. It's a wild spot though, and picnics outside in January would be the exception rather than the rule!

Did I say that the bothy had all mod cons!

It is 'big sky country' hereabouts!

Old wall, new fence.

This is the view to the west from near the bothy! What a perfect day for a walk.

We had this long conversation on the walk out, as I did my Dr Doolittle thing! And then of course I had an ear worm for the rest of the day. "If we could talk to the animals ... " (Sammy Davis version here.)

Photos © Skip Cottage

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Dawn on a New Year

So, another year! Should I make resolutions? Probably not. But fingers crossed for a peaceful year in a world that is becoming increasingly alien to an old guy like me. Still, I'm very content here at Skip. Annandale is a wonderful place to live.

Highlights of 2016? There was a visit to the trolleybus museum at Sandtoft, see here. That was a fun day.

I've not done as many walks as I would have liked, although this stretch of the Southern Upland way was explored back in March.

With the Carlisle-Settle rail line still closed, there were fewer local opportunities to experience steam locomotives close up, as few rail tours came up to Carlisle during the year. However, I did get up close and personal with Flying Scotsman, and that was exciting, see here. Size isn't everything of course, and I enjoyed this day with some wee locos at Threlkeld.

The new camera got put through its paces when a couple of red squirrels decided to visit Skip regularly in June and early July, see here. I wonder if they will come back in 2017?

August was a fun month with lots of really enjoyable days at the Edinburgh Festivals - and I made a number of blog posts. I'm the same age as the Edinburgh Festival, which is 70 this year. Highlight of many good days was making my stage debut, thanks to Countermeasure, that story here!

I do lots of things in my life that I don't blog about. This year I received a 'commission' to photograph some sites associated with Sir Walter Scott. This took me to a number of places I've never visited before, including Smailholm Tower, above. It's always a challenge with 'commissions' to get the best photo, prevailing weather and time constraints notwithstanding. But I do like a challenge!

I can thoroughly recommend this biography of Sir Walter, written by a good friend, and recently published by the National Museums Scotland, see here. Having just finished reading it, I realise just how little I knew of Sir Walter Scott before. It gets five stars from me.

Generally though, the Skip Cottage blog wasn't as busy as in previous years. My efforts have been directed towards keeping the Curling History Blog active, and researching curling history articles for that site has kept me occupied and engaged, and has been a rewarding experience. Even more so in 2017 I hope.

A Happy and Healthy New Year to everyone!

The top photo is of dawn on December 16, 2016, taken from outside Skip Cottage. I looked out of the window to see this sky and the toast went on the floor as I rushed to find the camera!