FolkestoneJack's Tracks

The Settle and Carlisle line

Posted in Blea Moor, Dent, England, Ribblehead by folkestonejack on July 31, 2010

A few years back I had the pleasure of experiencing a steam hauled excursion from Carlisle to Leeds and I remember seeing people walking around the line, thinking that I’d really have to do that someday…

Fast forward a few years and a bit of random surfing led me to discover that four railtours were due to pass over the Settle and Carlisle line on Saturday 31st July 2010. From that moment the idea of a mad daytrip grew in my head until it became quite impossible to resist.

My plan called for a train to Leeds on Friday evening followed by an overnight stopover before taking the first train of the morning out to some of the most beautiful scenery that I have seen on this island.

I started my day at Dent and followed the 9.2 mile walk to Ribblehead as outlined on the internet at, stopping every now and again to take photographs of passing local DMU services (operated by Northern) and the railtours. It worked more or less to plan, apart from a few minor detours as my map-reading skills let me down.

Arten Gill Viaduct

Arten Gill Viaduct

The weather was less than co-operative – the day started with low lying cloud swamping the hilltops and by midday the rain arrived, turning many of the hilltop paths into streams. Still, I probably gave the local sheep some entertainment as I clumsily made my way back down to Ribblehead.

An air shaft encountered on the route between Dent and Ribblehead

An air shaft encountered on the route between Dent and Ribblehead

Throughout the day the mixture of traction on offer was impressive in its diversity, featuring class 37, 52, 57, 66 and 67 diesels – plus a LMS Princess Royal class steam locomotive. I managed to get some passable photos out of the day (whilst learning how to use a new camera) though I made no attempt to photograph the steam special (one of those wrong place, wrong time moments!).

At the end of the day I headed back to Leeds and caught a series of trains that got me back to South London just after midnight. I will be back, for sure…

A coal train crosses Ribblehead viaduct on 31st July 2010

A coal train crosses Ribblehead viaduct on 31st July 2010

More photos from my trip are available at Gallery: Dent to Ribblehead

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