Friday, 27 April 2012

The Old Coal Road.

The Old Coal Road runs between Cowgill in Dentdale and Garsdale high up in the Yorkshire Dales.

There were twenty-five coal pits which formed part of the extensive coal workings and lay on the moorland either side of it. These coal pits were worked by local people, initially to produce domestic fuel, but by the 18th century, the poor quality coal was also being used in lime kilns. Commercial coal mining went on in Garsdale until the 1870s when the Settle-Carlisle railway started bringing in cheaper, higher quality coal from the Lancashire and West Yorkshire coalfields.

If you aren't adversed to a bit of  road walking then I should imaging a trip up on the Settle-Carlisle train, getting off at Dent Station and then walking up to Garsdale Head (or Hawess Junction as it was once known), would be a grand day out. For good measure it should include a couple of pints in The Moorcock Inn before getting the train back down.

On Garsdale station stands a statue of Ruswarp, a collie. Ruswarp belonged to Graham Nuttall, the first Secretary of the Friends of the Settle–Carlisle Line, which was formed to campaign against the proposed closure of the line. Ruswarp's paw print was put on his own objection as a fare-paying passenger. The line was finally saved in 1989. In January 1990 Nuttall and Ruswarp went missing in the Welsh mountains and on 7 April 1990 a lone walker found Nuttall's body, by a mountain stream. Nearby was Ruswarp, so weak that the 14 year old dog had to be carried off the mountain. He had stayed with his master's body for 11 winter weeks. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals awarded Ruswarp their Animal Medallion and collar for 'vigilance' and their Animal Plaque for 'intelligence and courage'. The brave dog survived long enough to attend Nuttall's funeral.

From Garsdale station I took the road to Hawes and then came back over the tops to Kettlewell where I finished an excellent day off with a pint in the Blue Bell Inn.



Dentdale

Dent Head Viaduct

Dentdale

Dentdale

Raven above Dentdale

Arten Gill Viaduct

Dent Station

Dent Station

Dent Station

Dent Station

Dent Station

Clock on Dent Station

Above Garsdale

Above Garsdale

Lichen

Lichen

Old Coal Road

Old Coal Road

Ruswarp

Ruswarp

Ruswarp plaque

Garsdale Head Station

Garsdale Head Station

Near Garsdale Head Station

Blue Bell Inn Kettlewell.

A journey of two halves.

It was one of those all too frequent occasions when the weather forecast had a big wad of thick cloud and rain hanging over Cumbria whilst ...