It is great that in 2016, we have two ex-LMS Royal Scot class 4-6-0s working in BR green livery, and I have enjoyed my runs behind the immaculately restored No 46100 Royal Scot. But that has in no way diminished my affection and respect for No 46115 Scots Guardsman, which has been delighting the punters for eight years. So I grabbed at the chance of a run with the authentic -looking workaday Scot, rather than the show pony.
The steam leg of the journey was to start at Preston, so that was where I joined. We were to run north over Shap to Carlisle, then return via the Cumbrian coast line and Barrow to Carnforth, where the steam was to come off.
With eleven coaches and no diesel, we set off smartly in the rain and reached 38 before the M55 and Barton and Broughton at 55. We hit 70 just after Brock and stayed that way right through to Hest Bank apart from a very slight slowing round the curves before Lancaster. We had 75s at Galgate and Bay Horse and we were accelerating as we rattled the windows at Lancaster with a 72 73 74. All too soon we were into the loop at Carnforth for water.
Our slog up the hill out of Carnforth took us to 33 at Yealand then we raced up to 64 at Bela viaduct and continued at around 60 to Hincaster Junction where the next climb started to take its toll. We passed Oxenholme at 51, Docker at 45 and topped Grayrigg at 37. Then we had my best run in a long time down the hill and through the Lune Gorge, reaching 74 and 75 and passing Tebay at 73 with some much-needed momentum for the climb. We dropped to 63 at Greenholme, 50 at Scout Green and 45 at Salterwath before breasting Shap at a minimum of 40. Then running downhill we were well into the mid 70s by Little Strickland and continued thus for mile after mile, making only a slight concession to the curve at Penrith, passed at 73. There was more excitement through Calthwaite and on to Wreay, only slowing below 70 at Brisco and reaching the outskirts of Carlisle station on time, having made up 7 minutes on the schedule. My best run over Shap for a good while.
The return via the Cumbrian coast was less thrilling, especially as the rain was now accompanied by a heavy mist which limited visibility. But the jointed track gave a retro feel – all we needed to complete the fantasy was telegraph poles and wires! We touched 60 a couple of times in the early stages, and the blast up though Whitehaven tunnel was memorable, emerging at 20 mph. We went the long way round through Barrow station then made a sharp attack on Lindal bank, topping it at 22. 59 around Cark and Cartmel and 57 before Arnside were the only highlights on our final stretch to Carnforth, but I had enjoyed my day behind the workaday Scot, which was off on another trip to Holyhead tomorrow.
© Peter Hewitt's Transport Pictures