21 February 2017

A visit to Skipton on a steam train

Last week Dad and I enjoyed a trip on the very first normal timetabled steam train service in 50 years! Yep, it was a pretty special day!  

There is a very pretty little line that goes from Carlisle, through Settle all the way through the North York Moors to Skipton. It is marketed as one of the most picturesque train lines in the country and they are not wrong. It basically goes to stations in absolutely. THE. middle. of. nowhere. I'm always amazed when people get on... where did they come from!? lol.

Part of the line broke, or more like got washed away in the evil Storm Desmond back in December 2015 and the line has been shut ever since.  Part of the line opened very recently and the next part through to Carlisle opens in March. So to celebrate re-opening they are putting on some special events.  One such event is the introduction of a steam train to the normal timetabled service. Obviously it is usually diesel trains on this line, we don't really have steam trains anymore! 

So in order to get the train we had to go to Appleby by coach, which was about 1 hour ish away.  The coach left Carlisle station at 7am, eek! Then our train was due to leave Appleby at 8.30.  The steam train services made up 4 'normal' timetabled services there and back during the day.  These special steam services had to be pre-booked and they sold out in no time at all, so we were lucky to get tickets.

Here's Dad! He's happy, I promise! He just didn't seem to realise when I was taking his photo, plus it was COLD, like mega cold. It was minus something or other and very very early.

The train itself is really rather special, I only know these things because of my Dad, who is into trains, or more specifically old trains, and lost old railway lines.  The train is called Tornado and it is a brand new steam train. A project of train enthusiasts, who raised the money and built it from scratch!  We have seen Tornado before when it has been visiting or going through Carlisle station but it is a very rare treat to actually ride on it.  These steam train services these days are just a tourist attraction and cost and arm and a leg.  But this one, because it was a normal timetable, was a normal ticket price, so it is extra special.

Daddy on the train!

I am probably being horribly judgmental and discriminatory here but the majority of people on the train were retired men! Real train enthusiasts, you know the type. One chap we got chatting to, even had a pocket watch in his waistcoat and was ticking off the train times as they arrived at stations, aw! I was so happy to be able to share this experience with Dad and accompany him on the steam train.

Goodbye Appleby, see you later...

First things first on arrival in Skipton, of course a tea room! Daddy and I LOVE a good tea room. And of course we HAD to get scones! This particular tea room was super girly and kitsch, with massive miss-matched tea cups, floral everything, bunting and butterflies, I think it was perhaps a bit 'too' much for dad.  But the scones were goooood and the hot chocolate, as you can see, even better, droool...

So we enjoyed a lovely pootle through Skipton. We had absolutely no plans what so ever. Dad says we have been to Skipton before but when I was little, so naturally neither of us remember much.  The train got us in just after 10.30 and was not leaving until after 5, so we had a full day to explore.

Turns put Skipton is really rather pretty! A canal runs through the town too!

The place is full of pretty little cobbled street and old buildings, all in a consistent coloured stone.

My what a good door...

The main tourist attraction in the town is the Castle, you cant really miss it as it is right there at the top of the high street. So we popped in to check it out. What a lovely little, picturesque castle it is too!

It is not English Heritage or National Trust or any of those it is in fact a private residence, the family who own it actually real life live there! What, how is that fair!?

But many of the older parts are open to tourists...

Another good door...

Why must they fence bits off and put up 'private' signs, oooh just makes me want to go into them ALL the more!

Of course the Castle has a tea room and shop too, in just the prettiest little building! The Clifford Tea Rooms, HOW inviting is that? We sadly didn't go in, but we had that massive hot choc and scone, and a huge pub lunch so a further meal would have been a bit much, wouldn't it? dam it... MUST go back....

Another classic snap of Dad, not realising I'm taking his photo! haha.

So another wander round the shops, a pit stop off at Costa to keep us awake and then back up the road to the station to meet our special steam train home!

It was fantastic all the way along thr route, and at the station and all over the platforms to see people snapping pics of the train. All the way along the line there were men in fields with cameras snapping as we chugged past.

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