The travels, musings and thoughts of a man and his camera.

SETTLE & CARLISLE. Going On Not Off The Rails.

I hadn’t been on a long train journey for a while, they are something I enjoy, just sitting back and letting the world wind itself past the window. I know they aren’t to every ones taste but I like them so there. Casting around for ideas I realised that I hadn’t been on the Settle to Carlisle route for quite a long time. It’s one of the great expressions of the Victorian Railways, a “Build It And They Will Come” moment. Born out of the various commercial rivalries of the era, built by the Midland Railway to give them their own route to the border city of Carlisle and onward to Scotland.

It launches out across the Pennines from a railway junction just south of Settle in North Yorkshire before heading up across the Pennines and then down through the valley of the River Eden and into Carlisle. The engineering to bring this line into existence was on an epic scale, with an army of up to 6,000 navies working away to bring the engineers drawings into a reality. It was threatened with closure but a concerted campaign saved it and as well as providing a transport link it also acts as a major tourist attraction.

Anyway this isn’t a detailed history of the route, there are far better qualified people out there who have done that. This is my day out, check your tickets and join me on board.

LEEDS. The sun shines down on platform 3 at the railway station as we wait for the train. I was using one of the Northern Rail Rover tickets, this one being the Round Robin covering from Preston to Leeds, up the Settle & Carlisle and then back down the West Coast Mail Line to Preston again. Not the cheapest of tickets but it covers a huge area and you have the advantage of hopping on and off trains as you go along. Leeds like Manchester and Liverpool always seems to be in a state of flux with bits appearing and disappearing the moment you turn your back.
SETTLE. The North Yorkshire market town that part names the route, I spotted a gap in the timetable and I thought I would break my journey here for a look around, I hadn’t been to the town since I can’t remember when and while I was in the area it would be rude not to stop and say hello. The station is kept in immaculate condition by a chain of volunteers, a development company and friends of. These groups also provide a trolley service on sections of the route. There will be one of those link things at the end of my ramblings.
SETTLE. Just so you know how far it is from here to there. The greenery obscures that it is 236 miles from here down to that London. If you want to go that is……

SETTLE. Pretty as a chocolate box , sort of proves that function needn’t dominate everything, there should always be space for a little bit of style.

SETTLE. I had enough time to take a walk around the town before the next leg of the journey, reacquaint myself and search out a few memories. The town does have a buzz about it, events going on etc. You sometimes have to pinch yourself and remember this is real and not some sort of film set. Everywhere has it’s imperfections and hard realities but some places manage to be just a little less imperfect than others.

SETTLE. The Folly, home to the Museum of Craven Life, Craven being the area. It also ahs an award winning café and no I didn’t try it thins time but there will be another visit soon when I will.
SETTLE. The town is dominated by Castleberg Crag, I took a walk part way up to the top to enjoy this view of a clutter of rooftops and chimneys in the town centre.
SETTLE. Well it was a warm and sunny Saturday, so why not relax and enjoy it.
SETTLE. It was time to head back to the station and head on to Carlisle. This is the view north, now you know why the route was know by train crews as The Long Drag.
SETTLE. The climb north through the Pennines. Hills and valleys folded together, settlements sprinkled through, marks of and enduring human presence in a not always friendly landscape.

CARLISLE. Arrival at my destination. Sun and shadows dapple the station platforms. I had a couple of hours spare before heading back.

CARLISLE. The Citadel stands a few short steps outside the station, a reminder of when out friends to the north weren’t quite so friendly.
CARLISLE. Cake and coffee were required and were acquired.
CARLISLE. Then back to the station for the run back home.


Categories: England, Heritage, history, Photography, Transport, travel, Uncategorized, United Kingdom

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