This morning we decided to go out for Sunday Lunch and jumped on the train to Appleby as we also wanted to experience the Ribblehead Viaduct from the train having seen it from the ground level in our youth when we would walk all over the Dales.
We travelled through the very elaborate station at Hellifield and on through Long Preston where we used to take our caravan for holidays and then to Settle with its old Water Gantry for filling the steam engines. Interesting old Mills and other buildings can be seen in the valley and on the hillside around Settle.
Next came Ribblehead Station where lots of walkers got off and then we were crossing the impressive 24 arch Viaduct which towers some 105 feet over Batty Moss below.
The track soon enters Blea Moor Tunnel which takes it up to Dent Station which is the Highest Main Line Station in England at 1150 feet above sea level. The views over the surrounding countryside are magical but unfortunately my camera skills are not good enough to do it justice.
The train finally reached its highest point at Ais Gill, 1169 feet above sea level and then began its decent down to Kirkby Stephen and Appleby. The trains all terminate at Appleby due to a major land movement at Eden Brows which was caused by erosion from the River Eden and the winters repeated storms. The land affected is some 130 metres long by 70 metres wide and the repairs involve building a structure underneath the rail track to support it. An estimated 500,000 tonnes of earth have moved and due to the remoteness of the site the work will take many months to complete. People travelling to Carlisle have to be transported by bus from Appleby.
The Vikings were probably the first settlers in Appleby, followed by the Normans who built the first stone Castle. The town grew rapidly with the arrival of the railway in 1862 and is perhaps most known today for its Horse Fair in June
The town is situated on the Banks of the River Eden and had many hostelries in its main street, The Broughgate.
This leads up hill from St Lawrences Church and Moot Hall to Appleby Castle. If we had had more time we would have loved to have a good look around the grounds which are open to the public (£2.50 entrance). At each end of the Broughgate is a tall white cross which marked the limits of the Market.
The castle which can just be seen through the trees in the top right photo had the first earth works dug around 1065 and has been strengthened on many occasions by its subsequent owners as the Eden Valley was the repeated scene of many battles with the Scots and the castle was at one time captured by the King of Scotland.
Walking back down the hill we popped our heads into a short alley way and found the Hospital of St Anne Almshouse founded by Lady Anne Clifford in 1651. Again we would have liked more time to explore them.
Sunday lunch was calling us before we had to catch the 13.39 train back and so we found the Tufton Arms Hotel which started serving early and here we had a superb Lamb Roast dinner with delicious sweets to follow. I would certainly go there again.
There is quite a steep hill to climb back up to the Station so we allowed plenty of time to get there and within a few minutes of our arrival the platform began to fill up with bus loads of people arriving from Carlisle and others coming from Appleby.
The journey back to Gargrave was just as interesting with great views from the other side of the train and watching large groups of cyclist climbing up the steep hills and then whizzing down into the dales.
This is a trip I would recommend any visitor to Gargrave to take and cost us £19.90 return rail fare each but well worth the money.