A few more bits
My last blog finished around early July so this is roughly a month’s guide to what I have been up to. The first week or two was spent training for my summer job in Southwold, the local ‘Latitude’ festival was adding to demand and hence my hours. Thankfully the management had agreed to me taking a week off even though I had just started and I was allowed to proceed with my planned holiday up North. It was just me and dad for this one camping about on this relaxed venture. First day was spent travelling up, first up to Doncaster/Leeds then across the Pennines to Carlisle. Not really wanting to pitch a tent after the long drive a cheap hotel near the centre was booked a few nights earlier. After a rather frazzled breakfast the next morning we walked to Carlisle Castle and Cathedral. Not very busy amazingly but this was before the main holiday season. It’s amazing seeing the Norman street plan when walking through the city. Next on the plan was 13 miles away at Banks, this was a small turret on Hadrian's Wall. First visit since the mid 70's for dad and first ever for me. We carried on along the wall, stopping at various places of interest. This included Thirlwall castle, built out of the walls stone. Following military road the campsite was found and we pitched. The ground was sloping and bumpy and fellow campers were very inconsiderate so not a great nights sleep. Cafe was also expensive but you were paying for the location. It was only 15 minutes walk from the highest point of the wall. It was interesting seeing the tilted Whin sill and surrounding limestone/sandstone beds.
Next day we walked up the steep path to the trig point, I explained to 5/6 hikers what a trig point was!
Carrying on along the wall we walked in a circle before reaching the campsite again, originally planning to stay 2/3 nights we didn't like it very much and changed plans. Instead we finished with the wall and went south. From the car window we viewed the sites of a few lime kilns and Vindolanda fort. The next couple of days were spent in Weardale, investigating the 'Alston block'. First stop was Nenthead mines complex, sadly closed but available to view. Quite a few adits about but no equipment to explore. Down the road was Killhope lead mining museum, the mix of geology and industry makes this site really attractive to visit. I had a go at locating the old moss lead vein in the stream, found some nice galena samples but no vein. I later learned I was in the wrong place. By now it was 4:30ish so it was time to find the campsite in Westgate. It was nice passing through the pretty villages on the tourist route, also recognising the names from my reading up of the Weardale line several months earlier. Most of the villages had stations on this lost route. The campsite was small and sweet, not bad price either at £5pppn. The village campsite was next to the R.Wear along with a shop and pub. The pub served excellent home cooked food. Another bonus was that you could walk to the pub along the old Weardale line.
Thursday saw us walking the geotrail to Low Slitt mine, poor footpaths made us turn back and try a different route. This was a lot quicker but meant missing out some of the sandstone geology. Parking next to West Rigg opencut we took the steep path to the mine which is being conserved. The small railway up the hill took us to the millpond. Further workings showed the line of the slitt vein (13.5 miles long). Picked up a nice pink Fluorite sample. Next target was Stanhope but instead of taking the direct route we went the scenery way, plenty of old workings about. Groverake mine was visited along with the Rookhope arch, traffic was amazingly quiet. After a drive the small town of Stanhope was visited, the 'tree' and station being the main attractions for us. Nice to see Stanhope station in good hands, sadly the steam loco on that day needed repairs. We finished by lunchtime so ventured down to Shildon to find the railway museum. Plenty of steam celebs to see including the recently made famous Turkish 8F. Also good to see Sans Pareil an original Rainhill trials locomotive.
Done with Weardale the decision was made to visit Beamish before heading down to Leeming Bar. Plenty to see and do at Beamish, it took the entire day. Great colliery along with a polished up Y7 I had seen restored at Weybourne. Plenty of industrial steam interest, rather annoyed I missed the horse mill though! Link
The trams were very good, my first tram ride for over 15 years, last was at Carlton Colville. After leaving a drive down the A1 got us to Leeming Bar, the campsite chosen had decided they don't like tents anymore so our plans were shafted. We stumbled around looking for a campsite and luckily entered a caravan park asking for directions, amazingly they accepted a few tents in the corner. So with a place for the night we were sorted, a nice location too with good facilities. Northallerton wasn't far away so we ate there. Next morning after breakfast the 5/6 miles to Leeming bar was driven in a rush to catch the first train on the Wensleydale railway. No parking meant we missed it so instead went to the mid-point at Leyburn. On today were the GWR tank and Sir Lamiel for the 1940s weekend. This is a long line at 16 miles, a rover ticket meant plenty of return trips. Only 2.5 miles from Aysgarth station the line is starting soon with extension works (a new bridge is being built). A fantastic railway and one with massive potential in the future.
Next day was the boring drive home, the sun then decided to appear in force. Thankfully I had one more day off so started uploading. Takes ages when doing descriptions.
Nothing much for a while spent another day on the Mid Norfolk railway helping shift ballast and burn vegetation. No pictures though.
By a stroke of luck I had another Sunday off the week after, this was spent at Old Buckenham mill and Buttrum’s mill. A cross county trip but I now have them off the list.
Next? Well the North Norfolk gala in September, Time and Tide in Great Yarmouth, Orford Ness would be nice and Heritage open days are a possibility. Just have to see.
- Mon, 15 Aug 2011 at 00:19
- Chosen Photo
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