Below are reports and photos of selected train walks from
2004. Please click on the appropriate links for further details.
Dent to Hawes 20 March 2004
Appleby 30th Anniversary
Celebrations 12 June 2004
14 August 2004
11 September 2004
Horton Circular 26 September 2004
Settle Circular 23 October 2004
Clapham Circular 13 November
Keighley to Hebden Bridge 13
November 2004 (Photos)
Dent to Hawes
20 March 2004
Walk abandoned due to Gale force winds in Dentdale!
This moderate train walk from Dent station to Hawes began
with 14 intrepid souls battling our way up the road from the
station in the pouring rain and fierce winds. The weather
forecast had promised "wet and windy" and it certainly
lived up to that. Leaving the road after about a mile, we
turned southwards onto the track below Great Knoutberry Hill
and from that point on were walking directly into the full
force of the gale force wind. After barely half a mile, it
became virtually impossible to make onward progress and we
were at serious risk of being literally blown off our feet.
As the leader, in conjunction with the backup and members,
I decided that the only safe option was to turn back along
the track. Surprisingly there were no objections!
As the wind would have been blowing in our faces if we had
gone back down towards Dent station, on reaching the road,
we continued instead up the Coal Road which undulated over
the tops before descending rather steeply to Garsdale Station
where we arrived after walking for less than two hours and
having done approximately 5 miles. Everyone crowded into the
waiting room in various states of sogginess for (what seemed
like) long-anticipated refreshments and lunch. Comments were
heard such as "I've never gone up the Coal Road as fast
with the wind behind me" and "I've never abandoned
a walk in my life, but I think we did the right thing".
I think a chorus of "51 today" was heard at some
point as well.
Having just telephoned the minibus driver from Hawes who
had been due to pick us up at the end of the walk and left
a message on his answer service, I then encountered him in
person two minutes later as he pulled into the station yard
to meet someone on the "up" train to Carlisle! I
recounted our mini-adventure to him and he agreed we had made
the right decision. As the walk had now been formally abandoned,
we then caught not the early train, but the very early train
(1302 from Garsdale) back to warmer and drier climates in
This was not the worst weather I have ever walked in, but
the worst I have led in and let's hope that this walk will
be completed successfully on a future programme.
Anniversary Celebrations 12 June 2004
An excellent day's celebration was held in Appleby on Saturday
12 June to commemorate 30 years since the chartering of a
one-off special train on 9 June 1974 to take walkers into
the Dales. The success of the 1974 event led to further similar
events and ultimately to the well established programme of
guided walks from the Settle Carlisle line which we all enjoy
The 2004 celebration event began at Leeds station with a
photo call before
boarding the 0849 Leeds to Carlisle train for which Arriva
Trains Northern had kindly donated 100 free seats to mark
the occasion. Walkers and friends of the line joined the train
at various stations as the train headed north to arrive in
Appleby shortly before 11 am where we were welcomed by the
Appleby Town Band and the Mayor
After a customary welcome and speech well over a hundred
to enjoy a total of seven guided walks,
varying from a strenuous walk up to High Cup Nick to a more
sedately paced history tour of Appleby itself. Fortunately
the weather stayed kind to us all day and we arrived back
to partake of a buffet at the Tufton Arms followed by the
cutting of a celebration
cake, various short speeches
and a traditional toast. It was particularly pleasing to be
joined by some of the original leaders who had led the walks
Following the festivities, this just left the short climb
(there's always a hill at the end!) back up to Appleby
station and the homeward journey, with the evening
sun showing Dales at their very best.
Thanks to all the organisers and participants for making
the day such a resounding success.
Please click on the links below to view the photos:
14 August 2004
Boarding the train at Skipton, which looked rather full,
noticed a lot of Chinese scattered about, then realized we
were on the Morecambe train? Two, plus their rucksacs were
occupying four seats, with a quick 'it's your lucky day!'
they removed their rucksacs. After brief introductions and
'good morniiings' a more in depth interrogation was needed,
'Where was Tommy Wall?' This produced amazing results, too
numerous to mention. After much laughter and photo-shoots
we parted at Kendal, they went on to Windermere. I must say
I did not learn one word of Chinese, but my English certainly
improved. We were off from the station in good form, Philip
weaving his way through traffic like a ton-up boy, up the
first climb, 'We were told it was the last!' Through the wood
and over the golf course, a friendly golfer giving us the
signal to proceed, I am positive the French Army used the
same signal to our long bow archers. We managed to lose Joyce
on the ridge, which is hard to do. She decided a short walk
and a trip into Kendal would be great. Dinnertime was with
the usual humour, you would have to be present to appreciate
the jokes. We then set off over the fields and arrived at
a 'Period House' with beautiful cottages and gardens. A while
was spent looking at the property and gardens as were pleasing
to the eye. A stop at a garage, not for petrol, but for ice
cream and drinks, proceeding then to the river where Christine
was amazed at the size of the 'ducks', which turned out to
be geese! Then onto Kendal which was now heavy with traffic,
I'm sure that all the Schumachers were on the road, Philip
took the lead, does he think if he is struck by a car the
car will come off worst? No time for a pint, but a very good
day, good weather and good company!
Please click on the links below to view the photos:
11 September 2004
Arrived at Bentham, met by Philip, stand in leader, Joyce
having to attend to something more personal in Scotland. As
the walk was a mere 7 to 8 mls, we warmed up by a quick up
and down the steps at the station. Off on the walk first obstacle
squeeze style, it was noticed some one slipped through easier
this time, "had they been slimming"?
Into the caravan site, as this looked clean and inviting
we decided a more closer inspection was needed. Picking up
the path we proceeded on the side of the river bank, various
topics of conversation in progress. Arriving at the trout
farm the first pond was occupied by ducks attacking the food
container, on a closer look you could also see the trout thrashing
about amongst the ducks. As this seemed like a feeding frenzy
of Piranhas it was suggested should we throw somebody in and
watch the reaction of the fish. No points for guessing who.
On to Low Bentham, small pretty village usual amount of 4
x 4's about, obviously a sign of a bad winter to come, sure
the natives will have knowledge of this.
Up a farm track, hello what's this? Animals with long necks,
long legs, aren't they cuddly, aren't they lovely, wonder
what they taste like? Morning coffee was taken conversation
being on Alpacas related to the Llama, what knowledge! Moving
off with a little shower of rain down a track alongside of
Gootenburgh caravan site "forget the spelling" into
the fields: what have you got under your arm Les? It's a brolly
was the reply, a flick of the wrist and up it popped: "what
a bigun!" was the remark, guess from who? Yes it is one
of those special ones it does not blow inside out: first mistake!
Second mistake turning against the wind, yes you have guessed
it, to hoots of laughter what did it do? Embarrassed Les plus
four helpers trying to turn the brolly out side in, rather
difficult as it was a bigun.
Forward to Burton in Lonsdale down to the river for lunch,
settling down we were surrounded by the local beggars, "ducks"
- one seemed to get more than its fair share of treats. Moving
off it started to rain, stopped to put on water proofs, catching
up with the group who were laughing, what's the joke? You
were putting on your trousers while Jenny was taking hers
off "can't see the connection"! Forward to Ingleton
down a track for coffee - my relatives live just across the
field - a quick phone call and who should appear? - 3 kids
all waving at aunty Christine! Suddenly a young man appeared
on a bike; after kisses cuddles and squeezes I am sure he
was glad to leave.
On to Bentham over the golf course, good of them to cut a
path through the grass, much appreciated, arriving just as
it started to pour down, well timed Philip, a couple of pints
in the pub. The landlord's face looked like 3 of granite and
1 of cement - nice to know he was only the relief manager.
Fish and chips were on the menu for some: sit down or eat
walking was the choice. Good fun on the train good walk, good
company nice day.
Signed The Pain. (aka Eric Bottomley)
26 September 2004
There was a good turnout of 18 walkers and 2 dogs on a murky,
windy, drizzly day, with the kind of rain "that wets
you through" as one person remarked
kind of rain is there?). The day began interestingly with
what could have been the start of the canine War of the Roses
when Lanky and Yorky sized each other up and went into fierce
battle. Skilfully controlled by their respective owners, a
gentle Lancastrian and a feisty Yorkshire lass, a truce was
Our leader, Glennys, rounded us all up and Brian, the back
up, counted us through the stile as we set off by the way
of Sulber Nick with Mary Poppins (aka Joyce) trailing at the
rear having trouble with her brolly. We were walking into
the wind and getting wetter by the minute - with the rain
that wets you through!- so breathed a collective sigh of relief
when we changed direction towards Selside and felt drier and
By lunch time the sun was peeping through and our leader
found us a sheltered scenic spot. As ever on Dalesrail walks
one had a diversity of dining companions. The young (?) man
on my left, using his lace hanky as a napkin, dined on panini
and roquefort with walkers' passion fruit and rose hip chutney.
The older guy on my right, after spreading a copy of The Sun
as a napkin dined on haselet and brown sauce. Unfortunately
his wife had put the brown sauce in the wrong side of the
sandwich so with the first bite it was all down the front
of his Paramo. To the rescue with Wet Wipes - someone always
Our route took us via Foss Barn, Hornsey Hill, Low and High
Birkwith where along the way we met several groups who were
doing the Three Peaks. A crowded area, reminiscent of a busy
Saturday in Settle. The dogs remained calm throughout though
one could sense the war simmering in the background.
On arriving back in Horton at the Crown Hotel, in time to
gate crash a wedding party, we had the full group of 2 friendly
dogs and 18 walkers, who had had a most enjoyable day with
a "lorra laffs" when topics ranged from the unmentionable
to B and Q. Yes B and Q. I'll share that one with you, not
that it qualifies as joke of the day, but it won't be censored.
Stranger: Is there a B and Q in Skipton?
FoD member: Not, but there are two Ts in Settle.
Verdict: A day enjoyed by all in amazingly good company,
good leaders and splendid scenery - Aren't we lucky?
Friend of "The Pain"
Settle Circular (via Pikedaw
and Malham) 23 October 2004
We left Settle in decidedly unsettled weather. Climbing up
out of this lovely town past the reservoir I was relieved
that our leader was not on his usual top form, an acceptable
pace being maintained. Further along our 'back leader' had
forgotten he should walk at the back and was so enthusiastic
that he missed Stockdale Farm where coffee had been planned.
However this was rectified and we had a pleasant coffee break.
We actually walked 'down' Pikedaw - a definite first for me
and had reasonable views as the mist cleared. We called briefly
into Malham before making our way to our lunch stop at Janets'
Foss. The water coming down this was incredible and made conversation
impossible - just imagine all this water was making its way
down an already flooded Aire Valley. Pity nobody had a camera.
At this point someone suggested that this would be a good
time to climb Gordale Scar again, this idea was totally ignored.
We climbed up the valley and crossed the back of Malham Cove.
As we approached the road I saw my local Mini-bus and waved.
The bus stopped, 'OH DEAR' he thinks we want a lift, how embarrassing!!'
This Mini-bus had taken an unofficial group of 'DalesRailers'
up to Malham Tarn the previous week and there was no way he
would forget 'them'. However the bus moved on and we sighed
with relief. After a boggy yomp across Black hill, we reached
'Jubilee Cave' in time for afternoon tea. We then made our
way down to Settle for a welcome drink after 16 miles. There
were only five people on the walk, the rest being at Macclesfield
or unofficially in Morecambe, but it was a really good enjoyable
walk - Thank you leaders.
Unfortunate Partner of the 'PAIN'
Clapham Circular (via Clapham
Village, Long Lane & Nature Reserve)
13 November 2004
As the walk was on the later train I was invited to breakfast,
no not at Tiffany's but Morrisons, early starter was on the
menu, not appropriate in this case. Down to the station in
good time, was surprised to see the Carlisle train still there.
On boarding the Morecambe train we were told of a problem
up the line and no specific time of departure. Taking seats,
opposite a young female I might add, we settled down, after
various topics of conversation we were informed she was studying
English Literature at Lancaster and was on her way back from
Bradford. Over an hour later the train was off, I will leave
it to your imagination what topics of conversation we pursued,
but it was in depth, by the time we got off I am sure the
young student could have studied "English Sociology"
and passed with flying colours.
As we were over an hour late we were off in good pace all
23 bodies including some younger people, "not that we
are old" only in body. As we approached Clapham it was
decided to have lunch "what a lunch" bottles of
wine, fruit cake and cheese, and a cake called, "its
one I got me head round" can't find it in the shops,
guess whose birthday it was.
After lunch off up the track, steady climb beautiful weather
everybody in good heart, even our younger walkers, on reaching
the end of the track the views were stunning, time to sit
and have a drink and admire. Picking up the path again, we
proceeded down the side of a small stream to Gaping Gill,
on down the track where we split in to two parties, the high
party climbed up to the farm then picked up the path down
to Clapham, with the sun going down the views were even better.
Time for a pint "what timing" we were then off to
the station in the dark, but with a good clear sky the walk
was very pleasant and enjoyable. Surprise Surprise the train
was on time, arriving at Skipton we were all in to the office
for a claim form, would you believe it they had some left.
Good day, good food, good weather, good company, good night.
The Pain. Name and address supplied.
Keighley to Hebden Bridge
13 November 2004 (Photos)
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