Decaying trackside furniture, its reason for existence long since departed, bares silent witness to the passing of the ‘Nation’s engine, No.60103 Flying Scotsman. The roaring safety valves tell the tale; the engine was being worked hard, needle on the red line, driver shuts off and thar she blows – been there done that got the sweaty t-shirt.
The location is the eastern approach to Ribblehead viaduct; the big hill behind the train is one of the three famous peaks, in this part of the Yorkshire Dales, Pen-y-ghent , the others being Whernside, and Ingleborough. It all looks lovely on a summer’s day but, spare a thought for the men who built this ‘scenic’ railway – it took them 7 years. “Two chain o’ knee deep water, four times a day, were faced by the fellows atween their meat and their work” (Seven Years Hard; Mitchell WR, Mussett NJ.)
Half a mile up the road was one of the encampments where the navvies constructing Ribblehead viaduct lived. Some of the camps had Biblical names, some those of battles in the Crimean war but, this one rejocied in the name of Batty Wife Hole; according to one story, a man named Batty drowned his wife, following a drunken row, in the stream which emered from the landscape. Today it is more politely known as Batty Green.
If you have enjoyed my blogs – I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, from trainspotter, via steam age footplateman, to railway author and photographer, this is a link to it: