Posted: Saturday 22 September 2018
By Road, Sea and Rail for
North East Associates
- Tuesday 18th September -
What will today be like, we wondered? With rain as we left Newcastle, and a forecast for gale-force winds later in the day how would we cope?
Very good, and very well, answers the two questions.
We were heading for Whitby, below, on the Yorkshire coast, with time spent here to be followed by a heritage railway journey to Pickering. This was our final excursion of the year.
Driving south in our two coaches the rain stopped and the sun came out as we climbed into the Cleveland Hills and entered the North York Moors National Park.
Pictures of some of our travellers will appear at random, as below.
'What goes up must come down' so we descended carefully into the fishing port of Whitby, where we were pleased to find that the wind strength was nowhere near what had been forecast - this a great relief.
The temperature wasn't bad either, as we dispersed into the town and joined lots of fellow visitors for a few hours before starting on our second journey of the day.
Some climbed the '199 Steps' up to St. Mary's Church and the Abbey ruins - no need to count them as each is numbered!
Some went out to sea, taking a trip in a four-tenths size replica of Captain Cook's bark 'Endeavour' - a relaxed voyage this, as today's ship has an engine!!
Many stayed at the lower level, having a gentle stroll through the town and along the harbour.
Noticeable was a huge reduction in the number of the large herring gulls which have plagued the town in the past and had become a real nuisance. Good news. Your carry-out or ice-cream are much less at risk now due to the local council’s ‘disruption and dispersal programme’. Seems pretty effective.
Time for that walk through the town and the harbour area, maybe to meet up with family or friends, and to take on food and refreshment before our afternoon train-ride on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
With everyone at the station in time we were herded into our reserved carriage by a volunteer ‘jobs-worth’ before starting of rather jerkily, engulfed in steam and smoke. Windows were kept firmly closed. Railway travel as we knew it!
Our ‘trusty’ steed was an LNER Thompson 4-6-0 ‘B1’ locomotive of 1947 vintage and built in Glasgow – younger than many of us!
The next day this loco failed when in service causing delays and disruption – not so trusty for the passengers then.
Upstream into the Esk Valley on Network rail metals we progressed at a breath-taking 25mph, the maximum allowed. A smooth ride, though, on this section which shares the ‘continuous rail’ track with Northern Rail scheduled services of four return trains each day.
The NYMR run twice the number in the summer months, and on Bank Holidays at other times, being the most popular heritage railway in the country. Their roster is usually four steam locos and one of the diesel kind.
Soon after passing through Ruswarp, above, we turned south on the heritage track to the sound of the wheels going over joints in the track, just like it was when our loco was new.
Following the Murk Esk river we climbed slowly, passing many small habitations and stopping at some. Railway travel as we knew it!
Line-side cottages near Grosmont
The line in use today was engineered by George Stephenson, and is but a very small part of what was a mainly freight network in north Yorkshire.
The lineside scenery changed as we moved on, from lush farmland, to tree-lined embankments to cuttings through rock and then this reversing as we descended to Pickering.
Back in walking mode we played ‘hunt the coaches’ after being given some duff instructions as to where they would be parked.
At the appointed departure time all were safely gathered in and we headed west through new territory for the day, passing through many attractive villages, and descending the notorious one-in-four Sutton Bank on the A170 to leave the National Park area.
Onward and upward then to Newcastle - that's on the map - being on time once more.
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