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Horton in Ribblesdale to Blea Moor
Horton » Selside » Salt Lake » Ribblehead Stn » Ribblehead Viaduct »
Blea Moor » Blea Moor Tunnel

Traveller's tale . . .
As we climb out of Horton and head towards Ribblehead the terrain now begins to get a little wilder. Progressing further north into Ribblesdale the windswept pastures are home to countless hardy sheep and 18th century drystone walls weave pleasing patterns across the dale.
66225 at Horton in Ribblesdale 47767 [Saint Columba] at Horton in Ribblesdale 66088 at Horton in Ribblesdale
Traveller's tale . . .
Still climbing, indeed it seems forever climbing, we approach the hamlet of Selside. Penyghent is now behind us and on our left are a row of period 19th century cottages, quintessentially Midland Railway and all have a "room with a view".
60006 [Great Gable] at Selside 220011+220023 at Selside 156479 at Selside 47793 [Saint Augustine] at Selside
Local tittle-tattle ...
Many caves and pot holes adorn Ribblesdale, one of the most well known is Alum Pot to the west of Selside by the slopes of Simon Fell (2088ft)
Mouthwatering trivia . . .
The lowest, but probably the most impressive of the three peaks, Penyghent, at "just" 2,273 feet dominates the area. Selside signal box was located to the north of the hamlet but closed as far back as 1975. The railway passes Selside on an embankment and because of this the lineside telegraph poles appeared to be truncated, they were removed in 2000 though can still be found a little further north.
Traveller's tale . . .
With Park Fell (1836ft) on our left and Dodd Fell (2189ft) on our right we pass the cottages at Salt Lake and we have now attained the 1,000 feet level, around the corner is Ribblehead.
Mouthwatering trivia. . .
Salt Lake cottages were named after the shanty town that once stood here, that has now gone of course but the Midland cottages, like others to be found on the line still remain.
47789 [Lindisfarne] at Saltlake
Traveller's tale . . .
We arrive at Ribblehead. The platforms are now staggered but at least there are two of them which wasn't always the case. The "down" platform was reinstated in 1993 after it was removed to make way for a new siding in the rundown period of the early eighties, trains could only call in the southbound direction - you couldn't make it up could you?
56025 at Ribblehead 37689 at Ribblehead 45126 at Ribblehead
Mouthwatering trivia. . .
The former signal box closed as far back as 1969 and was located on the down side where the boarded crossing is now situated. The adjacent siding once served Ribblehead Quarry, now a nature reserve. Ingleborough (2373ft) towers to our left and the highest of the three peaks Whernside (2419ft) dominates ahead.
47761 at Ribblehead 66189 at Ribblehead 60041 at Ribblehead
Local tittle-tattle ...
Ribblehead station was more than just your average railway station. The Station Master was trained in meteorological matters for his duties encompassing the collection of rain and wind speed data for the Met Office in London and though not conducting them personally, Sunday Services were held in the station building until 1956. The building has now been converted into a visitor centre.
Local Refreshment. . .
The Station Inn - Ribblehead If you come here and need a bite to eat and a drink or somewhere to stay then try The station Inn - highly recommended!
We've added a nice little video. It depicts 37411 with 37405 on the rear on the 13.33 Carlisle-Leeds.
Traveller's tale . . .
And so we arrive at the most famous location on the line, the zenith of the S & C. Photographed with awe by young and old, by both railway and non-railway photographer alike, I've seen it a thousand times or more yet I still gaze with admiration each time I see it - it is indeed, truly magnificent!
47365 [ICI Diamond Jubilee] at Ribblehead Classes 144+156 at Ribblehead 66197 at Ribblehead
Mouthwatering trivia. . .
There's not much to write that hasn't already been written, but just in case you didn't know (it's OK, I didn't know either!) - the viaduct has 24 arches, is 106 feet high, 440 yards in length, took 5 years to build between 1870 and 1875, was built from local limestone and spoil from Blea Moor Tunnel was used to form the northern embankment.
56105 at Ribblehead 66071 at Ribblehead 47750 at Ribblehead
Not many people know that:
I'm going to have to teach you some manners! Ribblehead Viaduct is officially known as bridge no.66 and is also known as Batty Moss Viaduct and Blea Moor Viaduct.
Local tittle-tattle ...
Shanty towns were built around here during the construction of the line housing around 2,000 navvies, their wives and families. A monument to over 100 men who died in the construction of the viaduct and Blea Moor Tunnel stands in the Church of St.Leonards in nearby Chapel-le-Dale. It was a harsh and tough life for most, drinking, fighting were the norm as well as wife-swapping - swopping her for a barrel of beer that is!
Traveller's tale . . .
Off the viaduct with it's splendorous views and the single line becomes double again as we pass Blea Moor. The eastern slope of Whernside towers to our left and the Dales Way meanders on our right.
57301 [Scott Tracy] at Blea Moor 221121 [Charles Darwin] at Blea Moor 66026 at Blea Moor
Local tittle-tattle ...
The derelict house was once staff accommodation and was built next to a pair of Midland Cottages which were known, not surprisingly, as Blea Moor Cottages. Sadly the cottages are gone, and the crumbling house that is left can best be described as "unfortunate"!
43014 at Blea Moor 66712 [Peterborough Power Signal Box] at Blea Moor 57304 [Gordon Tracy] at Blea Moor
Mouthwatering trivia . . .
Blea Moor is home to one of the loneliest of Britain's signal boxes lying some ¾ of a mile from the nearest road adjacent to open moorland where it bears the brunt of the inclement winter weather. It was originally situated on the down (northbound) side of the line until 1941 when the sidings were extended into loops. The down loop is now out of use, only the up loop remains.
156486 at Blea Moor 66553 at Blea Moor 66200 at Blea Moor
Traveller's tale . . .
A sprinkling of semaphores then we cross Force Gill and then Force Gill crosses us on its purpose-made aqueduct and then we plunge into Blea Moor Tunnel. The spoil heaps are still discernible on the route of the tunnel which took five years to build between 1870 and 1875 and is 2,629 yards in length.
66086 at Blea Moor 66131 at Blea Moor 66036 at Blea Moor 66177 at Blea Moor
Not many people know that:
I don't want any more excuses! You enter Blea Moor Tunnel in North Yorkshire and come out in Cumbria - unless you're travelling the other way that is - or if you turn round and go back!
Local tittle-tattle ...
Working by candlelight the navvies dug the tunnel out with nothing more than picks, shovels, gunpowder and sweat. They worked over 12 hours a day in appalling conditions for 6 days a week, fortunately in those days Sundays were the "Lord's Day". It was an amazing feat of engineering surpassed only by the sheer hardship endured by the workers themselves. In the winter months many of them never saw daylight for almost a week, no wonder they enjoyed a drink or two on Saturday nights - and a bit of wife-swopping to boot!
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