Lake District


North Yorkshire

North Wales



About Summiteer


15th February 2017

It seems that my liking for winter Whernside walks also coincides with the running of steam-hauled trains up the Settle/Carlise line and this is no exception...

Whernside Summit

Whernside Top

Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk....

Settle Station Tornado Steam

After 49+ years, a steam-hauled service (not charter) train again hauls passengers over network rails. For three days, "Tornado" is running two trains a day from Appleby to Skipton and back. With no turntable facilities at either end, the steam locomotive has to run tender-first in one direction. The Class 67 diesel is attached to provide heating or braking, but not tractive effort (as far as I am aware). Here at 09:40hrs the train arrives at Settle, heading for Skipton.

Ribblehead Viaduct

Ribblehead Viaduct

Parking, with many others, by the roadside at Ribblehead, I meet Jo and Amber and we beat the crowds by cutting across Batty Moss to find a good spot to watch the northbound return of the steam train. The walk started at 10:50 ish.

Molly on Great Scar

We have 30 minutes or so to get to the line and find a gap between the photographers.

Freight Train

Freight Train

One advantage of watching trains here is that there is no danger of a train heading the other way and blocking your view as it is single-line working over the viaduct. One unlucky man with his video camera at Selside found the freight train (above) blocking his view of the steam train heading up the line.

Tornado Steam Train

LNER A1 Class 4-6-2 no 60163 Tornado

Passengers are paying regular fares on these services, something like £17 for a Skipton-Appleby return. The three-day run has attracted a great deal of interest and filled the carriages; maybe it is something "they" could do more often? I'm no photographer, but ... the bright light over Ribblehead when viewed from the north-east can't be ideal for producing great photos.

Blea Moor Signal Box

Blea Moor Signal Box

All over in no time at all. How far do folk travel for the pleasure of seeing these locomotives in action? Whernside is next and it rather looks as though the top could be in the clouds.

Blea Moor Tunnel

Blea Moor Tunnel

The tunnel is about 1.5 miles long and took four years to build with sixteen workfaces. ??? yes, two ends and seven shaft entrances with teams working each way from the shaft bottoms. Three shafts remain for ventilation, the other four were filled in.

Force Gill Waterfall

Force Gill Waterfall

To Whernside


Some call the climb of Whernside "a drag" or "quite a pull". They fail to see the attractiveness in a long uphill slog over boggy ground with limited views and not much to get excited about. I tend to agree, especially on days like these. However, fellwalkers are a hardy breed and we know that the next sunny day isn't too far away, hopefully.

Whernside Summit

The Summit 2,415ft asl

Usually it is other walkers who have annexed the shelter just prior to my arrival, today it is snow.

The Shelter

Jo and Amber

It's a bit chilly up here.


Ribblehead Viaduct

Ribblehead Viaduct

It's just possible we will get back to the viaduct in time to watch the next southbound steam train.


The return route follows the "Three Peaks" route down to Broadrake Farm and then follows a clear path past Ivescar Farm to Winterscales and Blea Moor sidings.

Here it is, right on time. How would you like to drive your car for the whole reverse?

Tornado on Ribblehead Viaduct

Tornado on the Ribblehead Viaduct


Walkers: Jo with Amber, Molly and Me.

Time taken: 5hrs 40mins over a distance of about 10 miles.

Route: Ribblehead (Blea Moor Road), Great Scar, Blea Moor Sidings, Whernside by the usual route. Down to Broadrake and along the marked footpath to Winterscales and Blea Moor Sidings, the viaduct and back to the cars

Weather and conditions: Maily dull and rather cold on top.

Whernside on 23rd January 2016 - train as usual.

Whernside on 12th February 2012 - more trains, much more ice and snow!

Selside Steam Video

All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2017 ©

Take me back to the start ....

Take me home....