Last week, the Railway Touring Company enticed me with a £10 reduction to sign up for Sunday's Waverley, then infuriated me two days later by offering a £25 reduction for new bookings! I joined at Skipton but it took another hour before we were ready to leave Hellifield with Stanier 6P 4-6-0 No 45690 Leander, resplendent in its new BR black livery, with veteran driver Gordon Hodgson at the regulator.
We were off like a rocket, reaching 42 at Long Preston and Settle Junction at 63. We gradually lost speed on the 1 in 100 of the S&C proper, passing Settle at 51, Langcliffe at 45 and the mouth of Taitlands Tunnel at 34. Passing Helwith Bridge at 25 we went up to 35 on the flatter stretch, but were down to 27 at Horton and 29 at Selside, remaining just below 30 all the way to Ribblehead, then it was a steady 21 on the slog up to Blea Moor Tunnel. We ambled along the tops but flew along from Rise Hill to Garsdale (58) before reaching 64 over Dandry Mire viaduct. Remaining in the high 50s to Ais Gill, we then rattled down Mallerstang in the low 60s and all the way to the water stop at Appleby. There were fewer fireworks on the last leg to Carlisle but we did touch 62 at Baron Wood. A creditable run with 11 coaches, but not one for the record books.
On the return we were in the hands of Chris Cubitt, an experienced driver who had however only recently signed the S&C. A slowish start saw us reach Armathwaite at only 52 then Lazonby at 61 and Culgaith at 58. After water at Appleby we hit 51 just before Great Ormside but were down to 30 at Kirkby Stephen and 27 out of Birkett Tunnel. Half way up Mallerstang we had a short blast up to 35 at Shoregill but again speed slipped down to pass Angerholme at 29, with a minimum of 25 just before the summit. The climbing was over now but the running was still restrained until a last blast at around 60 from Stainforth to Settle Junction. Soon back at Hellifield, we said goodbye to Leander as it chuffed back to Carnforth, after an enjoyable, if not spectacular, summer out and back run over the incomparable Settle and Carlisle line.
© Peter Hewitt's Transport Pictures